top of page

The Digital Climate Survey: A Useful Tool for Working the P = People

We can affirm that there is a growing consensus - and this was demonstrated during the last congress organised in Madrid from 21 to 23 November 2019 by the European Legal Tech Association (ELTA) - on the need to build the strategies for innovation and digital transformation of law firms and other organisations in the legal sector on the so-called 3 Ps, which correspond to the terms: People, Processes, and Platforms. As well as to do it, working in the three mentioned aspects, following that particular order. In other words, putting people first and making a diagnosis and a clear policy of transformation concerning them; secondly drawing processes and identifying those which can be improved and automated and lastly, looking for technological solutions which can help people work better, processes flow and, in short, make organisations more efficient.

On the other hand, work environment surveys have traditionally been one of the favourite tools of human resources managers. In this article, we propose the use of what we have baptized as DIGITAL CLIMATE SURVEY® as the backbone of the strategies of those responsible for innovation and digital transformation.

The work climate allows us to know the degree of satisfaction of the employees within a company or organization. The digital climate, on the other hand, makes it possible to know the level of preparation and adaptability of both employees and of the company or organisation itself in regard to innovation processes and digital transformation. In order to evaluate this climate, it is necessary to know employees´ opinions on a series of aspects and for this, it is very useful to design and carry out a survey with the appropriate questions. In the following paragraphs, we will analyse some of the aspects that we believe are adequate to ask about.

Do employees have the necessary knowledge and skills?

This is one of the first questions we should ask ourselves and to all team members. Transforming an organisation requires them to have the necessary training to understand the reasons for change and the type of change required:

A. Skills

  • Persuasive communication

  • Time management

  • Methodologies for project management: Design thinking, scrum, lean.

  • Change management

  • Team management

B. Knowledge

1.1.1. Lawtech or technological law

  • Data protection

  • Intellectual Property

  • Consumer law

1.1.2. Legaltech

  • Programming

  • Generation of certified evidence and digital signature

  • Automation and contract management

  • Smart contracts

  • Blockchain

  • Artificial Intelligence

There is still little formal training on most of the subjects relating to innovation, digital transformation applied to the legal sector and on the different technologies which are useful for jurists and legal organizations. Instead, those who are knowledgeable are often also self-taught and have learned on the subject by reading blogs, attending conferences or listening to podcasts. If we do not ask, we will not know where we are coming from and we may have a biased and inaccurate view of reality.

For instance, it is possible that some of our professionals know more than we think and if we do not ask we will be wasting their talent and investing in inadequate training for them.

What attitude do people have towards the project?

To innovate, reinvent oneself, transform oneself….are all actions that demand an attitude of openness, optimism, courage as well as a desire to learn and work. The attitude of people partly depends on themselves, but also to a large extent on how organizations can recognize, thank and reward those who contribute value.

For its part, recognition requires publicizing achievements and for this, technology is very useful. Appreciation also requires the use of some means of communication. Finally, rewards require offering some form of financial or in-kind compensation to the person responsible for the achievement.

All of these actions: recognition, gratitude, and reward, require the existence of concrete, attainable and measurable objectives which, to be set equitably, must take into consideration the opinion of the one on whom they will be imposed on. To know the vision of the employees on how the company carries out these actions and their ideas in this respect is key.

What role should each team member play in the transformation project?

In any transformation project, the assignment of roles is relevant: leadership, spokesperson, project management are some of those that should be awarded. It is not enough to believe oneself to be a good leader or a good spokesperson, others must believe that one is. So again, asking the team for their opinion on these roles is also very important.

What does the team think about the available resources and which ones take to be successful?

Any project will require financial resources, technology and the dedication of people. The team probably already has a pulse on what there is and what needs to be acquired. Counting on them to identify the available and necessary resources should become imperative.

How do you think the project will affect clients?

Usually, nobody knows the clients better than the employees themselves and therefore it is convenient to include a series of questions that allow us to understand their level of satisfaction with the company, the pain points, the aspects that can be improved and the possible reaction of the client to potential changes.

How is the profile of the current position?

The development of the project may require the creation of new positions or the assignment of new responsibilities. Having a clear picture of the profile of current positions, as well as the willingness of professionals to accept these new responsibilities and tasks, and defining the future is essential to have the right team in the project.

What level of commitment can they have to the project and the organization in the medium term?

Many of the digital transformation projects are going to require employees to spend time training, so it may also be interesting to ask them about their plans. The level of commitment to the company must be decisive in determining the degree of involvement of different employees in these projects.

What are the relationships between team members?

Relationships between team members, both vertical (boss and employees) and horizontal (staff of the same professional category), are also important for the success of a project of this type. Therefore, it is advisable to include in the survey some questions about the quality of these relationships. If they are not suitable, it may be necessary to start by first carrying out some team building activity through, for example, team coaching.

All in all, the DIGITAL CLIMATE SURVEY® can be a useful tool to successfully carry out a process of innovation or digital transformation in any organization. One of the advantages offered by this technology is allowing you to measure results easily. Nonetheless, to measure one needs clear parameters and here is where the results of surveys can allow us to set a series of helpful KPIs, to demonstrate the project’s results and if necessary, modify our initial strategy.


About the Author

María Jesús González-Espejo is one of the Spanish-speaking leading experts in Innovation, Legaltech, Strategy and Legal Marketing. Managing partner at Instituto de Innovación Legal, a consultancy firm from which she advises many law firms, lawyers and organizations of the legal sector on innovation and digital transformation. She is also Vice-president of the European Legal Technology Association (ELTA), co-organizer of Madrid #LegalHackers and President of the Latin American Legal Professionals Women

Association (AMJI).

She has organized several hackathons and ‘The Legal Design Challenge’, a pioneering program that has introduced the Legal Design Thinking methodology in Spain.

She is a lawyer passionate for Technology Law, who devoted the first half of her career to the practice of law, specializing in #IP, #DataProtection and #Contracts’ Drafting. Admitted to the Madrid bar in 1989. She practiced first as a solicitor at Clifford Chance and Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, and later as a corporate counsel in several companies.

Author of several books on innovation and LegalTech, management of law firms, innovation and Legaltech. She also contributes frequently to professional media, teaches in several universities and lectures frequently in conferences and workshops. She can work in Spanish, English, French, Italian, Dutch and Catalan.

bottom of page