Patent Prosecution and the Great Resignation: How to Succeed with Limited Staff
More than 33 million Americans have quit their jobs since the spring of last year. With over 40% of workers considering taking part in this “Great Resignation,” how can IP departments ensure a happy, invested group of employees?
The ongoing COVID pandemic is reshaping how we approach our community, our relationships, and (perhaps most radically) our careers. Many employees are reconsidering their current profession due to the challenges of adapting to remote work, navigating an unstable job market, and desiring a more healthy work/life balance. According to Prudential Financial’s Pulse of the American Worker survey, 1 in 4 workers is preparing to look for opportunities with a new employer once the pandemic threat has subsided.
The legal industry has not been immune to the effects of the “Great Resignation.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 700,000 people in the professional and business services category — including lawyers and other legal professionals — quit their jobs between August 2021 and December 2021.
Law firms and in-house teams are exploring options that will invigorate their current workforce while avoiding the high cost of onboarding new hires. The most effective way to ease pressure on your existing team and make the most of limited staff is to invest in workflow automation.
Here are two fundamental truths about workflow automation that can help your office thrive during the Great Resignation.
Automation improves employee satisfaction
Michael Chui, Ph.D., a partner at McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), says roughly half of the tasks people perform at work could theoretically be done by technology that exists today. He also estimates that roughly six out of 10 jobs are made up of 30% or more tasks that can be automated. With the help of automation, organizations have the power to streamline tasks, remove bottlenecks, decrease human error, and free up time for more valuable, fulfilling work.
And by implementing automation for tasks like approvals and data entry, companies can improve employee satisfaction. According to a new study by the human-centered automation company Hyperscience, 81% of people believe automation can lead to more meaningful work.
As a result, most organizations are now incorporating digital workplaces that provide workflow automation and seamless collaboration tools to help employees manage their work and communicate naturally. When explaining why Juristat Office Action Response was the right decision for his team, Harness IP CEO Ray Millien mentioned this focus on the human factor: “[Workflow automation tools] make people's lives easier, increase job satisfaction, and improve our retention rates while decreasing staff turnover.”
With a simpler workflow, less time dedicated to menial tasks, and more time to invest in professional development, employees feel more fulfilled and invested in their employer’s success.
Automation makes employees better at their jobs
When your workers benefit, your business flourishes. A happier workplace ensures focus, dedication, and quality work. By improving employee satisfaction, you can improve your organizational success.
For example, manual and human error is something that even the most well-managed companies can’t escape. And these errors add up and affect all departments, from finance to sales to IT. With the right workflow automation software, your team can spend less time focusing on intricate, exhausting processes, avoiding the brain drain that leads to lower quality work. By streamlining tedious tasks, firms allow employees to take on more fulfilling projects without sacrificing the quality of less glamorous tasks. Your team now has the capacity to take on those projects that have been sitting on the backburner.
Additionally, incorporating technology into your office workflow allows your managerial staff to better understand employee performance, overall business productivity, and resource allocation. With actionable data provided by these new workflow tools, you can develop new organizational structures to ensure a productive, lucrative future.
In the end, workflow automation allows your team to focus more on organizational growth rather than mundane, everyday tasks. The right business automation software lets you eliminate bottlenecks, evaluate new approaches to old problems, and improve your current process for future success.
How to ensure success with workflow automation
Workflow automation presents limitless opportunities in simplifying key law firm processes. Your firm can automate several administrative tasks, including, of course, office action response preparation and IDS filing. Optimize these areas through automation to spend less time doing non-billable tasks and more time creating revenue for your firm.
Here are seven steps that will help you implement the correct workflow automation tool for your team:
- Start by making a list of your least favorite tasks. To begin, jot down the repetitive tasks you don’t like to do and consider if they are good candidates for automation.
- When exploring workflow automation tools, look for those that don’t wholly reshape your current process. Some tools require new interfaces, new logins, complicated (and constant) training, or significant workflow changes. Focus on simplicity and look for tools that integrate with your current process. This will help combat change fatigue.
- Take advantage of your trial period. Trials are the best way to gauge process change and return on investment. And the secret to a successful trial is active participation.
- Define what success will look like in your trial run. It’s important to establish benchmarks, goals, and expectations with your vendor on the amount of money and time saved, the number of applications completed, and so on.
- It’s okay to start small and grow – focusing first on implementing the technology for specific attorneys or practice groups.
- Take advantage of valuable integrations that ensure a higher level of success. For example, Juristat’s workflow automation solutions rely on private PAIR integration for a seamless experience. This allows our AI to automatically detect office actions the moment they occur, removing any need for human input and the possibility of human error.
- Never be complacent with your technology. Although part of the advantages of implementing automation is that you can “set-it-and-forget-it,” there will always be an advantage to evaluating your processes over time.
In a time defined by remote work and professional burnout, taking care of the needs of your staff is the best way to avoid losing top employees. By looking into workflow automation tools that correct inefficiencies and take over menial tasks, you are creating a workplace environment that allows your staff to thrive and take on more fulfilling, valuable work.
Hoping to find a workflow automation tool that keeps your employees engaged? We’d be happy to show you how Juristat Workflow Automation can improve your company culture. Let’s discuss.