Episode 132.5 – Green Apple Slice


The NewLaw Firm Shunning Short-Term Fixes for Staff Engagement


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Lawyers Weekly, “The NewLaw Firm Shunning Short-Term Fixes for Staff Engagement” by Melissa Coade.


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    Good morning, everybody. Happy Monday. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices. I’m here at the ITA Conference in Nashville where yesterday, I kicked it off with the opening keynote and going to have some fun later tonight. But normally, I have to call in my co-host and partner in crime but she’s here so she can’t not pick up. So everybody, Rachel Fisch.

    Rachel: I’m here in Nashville.

    John: Excellent. Very good. It’s cool to have you here and we can do this in person so it’s even better. We’ve been hanging out and causing everyone a heart burn, really good people. But before I hop on this plane, I wanted to go over this article with Rachel and it was called the NewLaw Firm Shunning Short-Term Fixes for Staff Engagement. It was an article by Melissa Coade on Lawyers Weekly in Australia. I thought it was really interesting because it basically talks about how firms try to put a band aid over a gaping wound.

    Rachel: Anytime you try to do that in any respect or analogy type, it’s usually not a good thing, right? This article really centers around an interview with Rob Roy Rankin, the founder of local NewLaw firm Rankin & Co. It’s kind of his take on all of this stuff. He’s got some decent points. All of the things that have come to represent cool culture and places where people want to work, they’re kind of missing the point if they don’t go deeper than that.

    John: Right, absolutely. He takes it to another level of its employee experience because EX, because everyone’s got the CX, customer experience, and user experience UX, but there’s actually an employee experience and what he’s saying is it’s got to be really part of your DNA, it’s got to be baked in there at the very core.

    Rachel: But what if ping-pong tables and on-site yoga is truly in your DNA.

    John: All right. Well, it could be.

    Rachel: It probably isn’t. But these are the types of things that he’s saying our typical things that what can we do to improve culture? We’ll bring in ping-pong tables.

    John: Right. Exactly. He calls them adrenaline shots, so short-term fixes but everyone knows that it’s manipulation. You’re just trying to put lipstick on a pig basically. I mean how many more clichés can I throw out in one five to seven minute segment?

    Basically, what he did when he created his firm is he had been working 12 plus hours a day and just locked behind a desk and all of that. He just wanted to create that culture of adventure, innovation, and fun which as a law firm is not normal. I mean the Law & Order anyway, they don’t look hilarious. Just trying to just create that foundation that everything comes from and then that’s what will really make you standout when you’re trying to recruit and retain top talent.

    Rachel: For sure. As I’m reading this, I’m thinking okay, well, if it’s not ping-pong tables and on-site yoga or on-site massages or anything like that, what is it? That was actually part of the article that I felt was missing a little bit is like okay, if short-term fixes aren’t the solution, we’re talking about the theory of the long-term solutions, right? Creating that place that people want to go to work each day. I think I was kind of looking for what is that? What are those insights to the longer term adventurous cultural experiences that you want your employees to get every day? That kind of left me hanging a little bit. What are those long-term fixes?

    John: It’s also possible that it applies differently to different firms and different groups of people. I think it’s going to the people, it’s asking them, it’s finding out what are their passions, what would make the place that they actually want to go to work each day.

    Rachel: One of the things I’d be interested in is so this is now a multi-location firm. If each of these locations have their own culture, one of the things that I’ve seen in multi-location companies or firms whether they’re accounting firms, I’m sure the same thing would apply for law firms as well, is that because the culture is driven so much by the employees who are part of it every day, they do sometimes have a different bit of a feel to it. I’d be really interested to see if it’s the same kind of feeling in each of the offices or if each one kind of has their own uniqueness to it.

    John: Right, absolutely. I would think so even just a little bit of a flavor difference but either way, the underlying tone there is that it’s okay that it’s cool to be that.

    That’s it everybody. I’ve got to catch this plane to Chicago for the Sage Sessions tomorrow morning. Rachel will I guess keep hanging out here in Nashville.

    Rachel: I’m just going to hang out in Nashville for a while if that’s okay.

    John: Yeah. Talk about me behind my back and I’m not even here to defend myself.

    So there you go, everybody. Don’t forget to hit subscribe and follow us on Twitter @FischBooks or @RecoveringCPA or the Green Apple Podcast has its own twitter @GreenApplePod. So hope everyone has a great rest of the week.

    Rachel, enjoy the rest of your time in Nashville.

    Rachel: Thanks. Safe travels, John. Talk to you later.

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