How do you drive your team’s digital literacy

Sep 2021

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At KWM we are focused on building digital literacy and capability to create efficiencies for our people and our clients. We have introduced a range of connected initiatives that work together to uplift technical skills, as well as create open mindsets to encourage new ways of working. Our Transformation Programme is designed to help our people augment their deep technical legal expertise with increasing proficiency across a range of platforms and LegalTech tools, so that they can optimise the delivery of legal services for our clients.

As the firm’s Executive Director Innovation, I am constantly impressed by the ways in which our people push the boundaries of their digital development. Since the introduction of our programme we have recorded adoption of LegalTech tools at a rapid rate (621% uplift) and seen teams explore new use cases for LegalTech (even previously unknown to the platform’s vendor) – opening up new ways to leverage technology, boost their applicability and utilisation. Maximising our ability to leverage technology and find efficiencies for our clients is at the centre of our award winning programme. At KWM we are committed to the pursuit of optimisation for our clients, who we know are operating in cost-conscious environments while navigating a period of accelerating change. This context of continual change, which I’ve blogged about previously, means digital literacy can be different things for different people. Here’s how I think about digital literacy, and how you might translate that thinking into practical action for your teams to take forward.

Build digital literacy in incremental steps

There is an often quoted saying that gives any leader comfort during the implementation of an enterprise-wide, multi-year transformation programme.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

By focusing on micro uplifts in people’s awareness, adoption, and shifts in behaviour, you can lay the foundations of digital literacy before turning your focus to accelerating proficiency and establishing mastery. At KWM we have taken a ‘one bite at a time’ approach through our Transformation Programme, building digital literacy through connected, targeted initiatives like our Graduate Digital Bootcamps, Use it or Lose it dedicated learning time, and our KWM LegalTech Belts. KWM LegalTech Belts are in of themselves an example of our ‘micro’ approach to building digital literacy – these externally validated digital credentials are a form of micro-credentialing. Our people earn different coloured Belts as they build their proficiency in a relevant LegalTech tool. By creating learning pathways that can be completed in stages, we are helping our people drive their digital literacy ‘one bite at a time’, enabling them to focus on digital development while continuing to deliver for our clients.

How might your teams benefit from taking a micro approach to uplifting their digital literacy? Is there a way in which you can chunk down a larger goal to help people make continual, phased progress?

Drive adoption

Encouraging people to adopt technologies to drive digital capability is relevant to any team operating today’s environment. Factors including the global (almost overnight) shift to remote working, evolving client expectations, and the need to deliver high-quality outcomes in increasingly shorter timeframes mean that leaders should continually assess and drive their teams’ digital literacy.

At KWM we launched The Multiplier (our initiative that incentivises, recognises and rewards lawyers who adopt LegalTech on client engagements) in December 2020. Since then, we’ve seen first-hand how introducing an initiative designed to uplift adoption of technology has worked to convert people from LegalTech explorers to advocates, and then from advocates to masters. Over 8,716 Multiplied hours recorded to date demonstrates our people’s collective pursuit of efficiency in their delivery of legal services. While the benefits our people experience from increased adoption are clear*, our clients also win, with LegalTech tools being applied on 634 live matters for 435 clients since The Multiplier launched. That translates into significant digital literacy.

*automation = less time on manual, repetitive tasks + more time on high-quality strategic thinking (rewarding)

What are the levers available to help you drive technology adoption? What are the blockers preventing your people using technology? How might you encourage your people to explore new use cases of existing platforms to sharpen their edge for clients?

Increasing digital literacy skills enables your people to build confidence to test, learn and adapt to new ways of working.  It supports the reuse, analysis and reframing of information, knowledge, processes and outcomes.  The efficiency increased digital literacy brings includes reducing time to produce, enables greater collaboration and often centralisation or greater access to knowledge with less administration time for all involved parties.

Grow and embed skills

Once you have established broad awareness, created buy-in, and uplifted initial adoption, you can turn your focus to growing proficiency and embedding skillsets across teams.

Growing and embedding skills can be a goal of any team, regardless of your industry or client-base. And it doesn’t have to mean adoption of new technology. Consider the technology you’re currently using daily – are your people maximising their use of the available functionality? Have you kept pace with upgraded features and tools? Or, are you scratching the surface of the ways in which you can use the program? Standard business software like Excel and Word have a suite of free online training programs designed to uplift users’ proficiency, whatever their existing level. At KWM, we’ve created more than 120 firm-produced videos to grow and embed our people’s digital literacy across our suite of LegalTech tools. These videos are:

  • short
  • feature our own people
  • available via mobile, and
  • can be viewed as a one-off or within a planned sequence to develop digital capabilities.

Focusing on the digital technologies currently in regular use and helping your people to grow their existing capabilities is one way to create an uplift in proficiency, leading to greater efficiencies and performance. Ask yourself:

Who are our super users of this technology, and how can we tap into their knowledge and ability to drive the team’s digital literacy?

Together, these initiatives are working to accelerate our people’s LegalTech adoption and build their capabilities to deliver increased efficiencies for our clients. At KWM we are focused on augmenting our legal expertise with leading technology. Our goal is to make the complex simple, and execute with efficiency, so that our clients can power through their business legal requirements and ultimately, focus on creating value for their own customers and colleagues.

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