Creating An Atmosphere For Team Building
A consequence of being an employment lawyer is the exposure to what employees find dissatisfying in the workplace. When you run your own firm, like Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC, that provides the partners with the insight to host a company retreat.
In April, partners Galen Shimoda and Justin Rodriguez shut down the practice for two days and invited the attorneys and staff at the firm’s Elk Grove, California, and Holladay, Utah offices to come together team building, site seeing, skiing, golfing, and lots of food.
“While we see each other on weekly Zoom meetings and sometimes daily meetings, there’s an aspect of having someone physically there to help with the connection,” Galen said.
The partners chose to fly the attorneys and staff from the Elk Grove office out to Utah, so they could become acquainted with the area and see the office the firm opened in Holladay, a city just outside of Salt Lake City.
After discussing the current state of the employment law firm, the case landscape in California and Utah, and the future of Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC, everyone played modified versions of Do You Really Know Your Family? and Mafia The Party Game.
“I thought that it was good for the offices to get together because of morale and helping with the camaraderie of the group, helping them connect,” Galen said. “
With business and icebreakers out of the way, the group went on to visit beautiful Utah locales such as Park City, Utah, a world-class mountain resort town and venue for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
“It’s important to have those times to really connect and talk about personal lives and experiences, which you don’t see too much in corporate America,” he said.
Choose an employment law firm that embodies a healthy work environment to represent you.
How Retreats Lead To A Successful Firm
The retreat in Utah was not the first time the firm had held a get-together. Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion into Utah, Galen gathered his attorneys and staff for a retreat in Hawaii.
Many morale and fiscal factors are considered when the partners decide to hold a company retreat, he said. His experience as an employment attorney gives him a good sense of how best to grow his firm and provide opportunities for employee fulfillment.
“I hear of all the employee complaints. I know how employees tick as an employment lawyer. What I try to do is avoid those,” he said. “When I interview new employees, the thing I hear about most – other than pay and benefits, which are, of course, important to employees – they want to be in a place where they can call it home, where they feel valued and appreciated.”
He said that in addition to feeling valued and appreciated, employees also like to feel they have ownership in their job, find it positively challenging, and are making an impact. He and Justin hope that the retreat and other policies at the firm will lead to long-term retention of the attorneys and staff.
This retreat was a way for us to say, ‘You are valued, you are appreciated, and we’re using our resources because you helped us get here.’– Galen Shimoda
Retreat’s Effects On Shimoda & Rodriguez Law, PC
There was almost an immediate effect on the firm once the California and Utah staff returned to their respective offices.
The most noticeable is the knowledge of the cities surrounding the offices. Staff from both offices answer calls and consultation submissions from employees seeking representation for their wage and hour claims, wrongful termination lawyers, or whistleblower protection.
“When we have calls coming from different parts of Utah, our California people are now recognizing ‘hey, I’ve been there,’” Galen said. “That’s one of the first things I noticed they knew where the calls they were receiving, and they could immediately relate.”
He said he looks forward to discovering how the connections made at the personal and professional level boost the attorney’s and staff’s ability to represent clients in both states.