Hiring and Training with the Client in Mind

It’s easy to say your employees are great when things are running smoothly, but what happens when a crisis hits and the proverbial chips are down?

In November 2008, terrorists attacked multiple locations in Mumbai, India, including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. In the midst of the chaos and horror, employees of the Taj were “the very model of ethical, selfless behavior,” as described by Alix Spiegel of NPR. None of the employees fled the hotel. Instead they stayed behind, putting their own lives at great risk, to help their guests through the crisis to safety.

Senior management at the Taj could not explain why, but in his study published in the Harvard Business Review, Harvard business professor Rohit Deshpande opined, “It perhaps has something to do with the kinds of people that they recruit to become employees at the Taj, and then the manner that they train them and reward them.” In his research, Deshpande learned that the hotel values character qualities like empathy, respect, integrity and devotion in their recruits, over the more traditional criteria of high grades, skills and talent. Additionally, all of their job training focuses on the customer, with rewards and recognition immediately given for positive customer interactions. The results seem clear.

The Taj attack was an extreme circumstance that would be unlikely to occur at a law firm, but it brought to light an everyday value. The way the hotel recruits and rewards its employees can work in any business, including a law firm. How different would law firms be if their clients were at the center of everything they did, including how they recruit, train and reward their employees? Employees who are consistently motivated, valued and empowered will go the extra mile to serve their clients every day – even when the day goes horribly wrong.

Have you experienced this kind of training and reward protocol or seen the benefits of it in practice? Chime in below!