Dan Arends, the Chairman of Colliers National Law Firm Practice, recently attended the 17th Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum hosted by Thompson Reuters in New York. Dan moderated a panel on “Leveraging the Multigenerational Law Firm Workforce” at the conference.

The principle lesson firms have learned is that they must understand the generational differences within their firms. Millennials differ from their elders as they put greater value on work-life balance, expect more transparency and input into their performance and career path, and are using technology to enhance flexibility in where they perform their work.

In order to facilitate the successful training and onboarding of millennial employees, firms are spending more time upfront to set clear expectations of new hires. Additionally, firms are promoting concentrated periods, or weeks out of the office, at dedicated training sessions or foreign offices to provide newcomers with expertise and experiences not typically found in the office. Additionally, firms are reconfiguring their actual workspaces to provide collaborative settings that Millennials desire. These settings foster a multitude of work environments, such as flex-work areas and hoteling concepts that enhance collaboration, employee attraction and retention as well as better work/life balances.

Firms are also increasingly experimenting with multigenerational project teams to provide clients with broader perspectives and assist in the development of all generations.