Law Firm

Client
Lawyers/Solicitors in England, UK
Project Description
The new Board of Directors of a 30-person law firm instructed the Crowd Wisdom Project to survey their staff, in order to obtain the staff’s views on their future strategy. The Board knew that their staff were engaged with the business and therefore wanted an anonymous tool for extracting the best possible wisdom from their team.
The Board knew that it was difficult for colleagues new to any law firm and for junior colleagues, in particular, to make suggestions to the Board. The anonymous nature of Polis was therefore attractive due to hierarchical nature of most law firms. Polis surveys allow even the newest and most junior member of staff to suggest something, which all other staff members vote on anonymously, empowering all participants.
Spearheaded by the Crowd Wisdom Project, we framed the questions and seeded some simple statements. The Polis survey was sent around the staff, via email, by one of the Directors. The staff were encouraged to keep engaging with the process, once the dozens of additional statements were posed.
Question
What strategy should this law firm take?

The Polis

The law firm were thrilled by the engagement of their team. As our report below reveals, even with only 23 voters, 1531 individual votes were cast in a short time. In total, anonymously the staff submitted 85 comments for their colleagues to anonymously vote upon.

At the Crowd Wisdom Project, we moderated the questions to ensure that nothing inappropriate could be voted upon.

With every statement, the voters had three options: Agree, Disagree or Pass/Unsure. With circa 83 statements, voters needed a few minutes to reply. The staff did not need to sign up to answer the survey, because the way we at the Crowd Wisdom Project deploys Polis on an entirely anonymous basis. As is common with websites, Polis deposits a cookie on the user’s device to ensure that the user can only vote once.

Deploying advanced statistics and machine-learning, created by the clever people at the Computation Democracy Project, Polis discovers groups within groups, based on answers and statements, plotting them on a graph. To each voter, the statements appear in a semi-random order. The more data is collated, the more useful the results. The users do not need to vote on every statement for their votes to count.

The Outcome

To the surprise of the Board, the conversation morphed from one solely about the future strategy of the business, to more granular concerns of the staff. Questions about social events, compressed working hours, Christmas closure and the functionality of their technology all arose, driving further engagement. The Pol.is created a buzz in the business, a pressure valve for anonymously expressing wishes. Evidently, the staff wanted to be heard.

With 1531 votes, the Pol.is report located definitive, previously unknown cohorts/groups within the business. Interestingly, one of the statements created by the staff was a request for quarterly Pol.is surveys.

The Board now have previously unearthed wisdom to consider, which they had not hitherto considered. In addition, the Board are now armed with greater insight as to whether their staff will approve of their decisions. Small easy “wins” were identified, which should improve the efficiency of the business. The survey fostered a collegiate attitude throughout the firm.

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