Inspiring the leaders of tomorrow to be confident online

Most firms work hard to create a culture where employees feel encouraged to speak up internally, but this doesn’t always translate in the same way to professional forums online.

When talking with many of my younger staff about engaging with the wider conveyancing industry online, they often either don’t have the confidence to join in or have had a negative experience when attempting to voice a professional opinion.

Many of our staff use sites like LinkedIn to build their professional network and we support that opportunity to share experiences and gain knowledge. Our younger employees are actively encouraged to engage in conversation online. Of course, it reflects well on the business to portray a vibrant and active workforce, particularly in conveyancing where we are so lucky to attract talent from all backgrounds.

However, one misstep – even the most innocent one – can have negative consequences, with points of view quickly categorised as “right” or “wrong”. We know it’s not always as simple as that: there are vast grey areas in between. Yet, the ability to distinguish debate from confrontation (and avoid the latter) can be a challenge for the inexperienced.

Many assume that digital natives automatically know how to conduct themselves online, but this doesn’t always translate into a professional setting. It’s our responsibility as leaders to help guide not just what to share, but how much of it to share. It’s also our job to arm those employees with the relevant tools to combat negative experiences which may challenge their professional confidence and potentially their mental health. With the first ever Conveyancing Week coming up in March, now is the time to give our staff the tools to share their experiences online.

Opinions aren’t as neat as “right” or “wrong”

The conveyancing industry is faced with so many new technologies and changes on the horizon that undoubtably make our profession more complex than ever before. We’re evolving, and this forces established practices to be dismantled and modernised. It can be difficult to accept and challenging to debate, but opinions can’t be compartmentalised as being simply right or wrong. Some resist change – others embrace it – but it’s possible to consider two separate ideas at the same time without making another person incorrect for not sharing the same thinking.

Encourage trainees to share their experiences

Our younger staff may not have the benefit of time to develop fully formed opinions on many of the complexities of the profession, which is why many shy away from voicing their opinion online. They feel inexperienced or not senior enough. But that doesn’t lessen their right to have a say and often, their own individual stories will lend itself to a particular point or opinion. Sharing a story can help to add value by tying them back to personal experience, and often encourages others to be more human in their responses.

Give online training

We provide our trainee staff with online etiquette training and guidelines to support them when engaging with social media platforms on behalf of the business or themselves professionally. Often they come to us having only used social platforms for fun, to engage with friends and peers. There is no clear-cut guidance, but it’s important to help them distinguish their personal and professional use of online conversation. As with all other social platforms, it’s important to recognise the dangers to mental health and help provide tools and advice to avoid any personal harm from online conversation and communities.

Our industry is changing in so many ways through technology, compliance, and social media, but it’s the leaders of tomorrow who will carry these changes into the next generation. Practices will evolve and we owe the next generation the space to voice opinions that may differ from our own as part of moving the needle toward the very change we’re seeking.

Natalie Moore is founder and director at Aconveyancing

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