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A Great Place To Work

July 4, 2013

Standing in the corridor near reception, I was at first a little surprised when a girl passed me on a scooter – or was it a skateboard? After all, most Legal offices are impressive, but in a traditional way. That is not the experience when you visit Fondia, just voted the best legal services company to work for in Europe – and a company from which many of us can learn.

As i walked around their offices in Helsinki, it was certainly a place I would enjoy working. Every room is different. The one where I met Maire Laitinen, a Senior Advisor with the company, felt like the den in an up-market New England mansion. Others reflected many different styles and moods, perhaps aligning with the diverse client base. For example, in keeping with Finland’s world ranking for innovation, Fondia has targeted many of the young start-ups, especially in the field of apps and software. These young entrepreneurs need legal support, but it must be practical, low-cost and on-demand, offering a place and people with whom they connect and want to visit.

The support model is proving successful. Unlike many law firms, Fondia is growing – and is determined to be at the forefront of change. For example, on August 28th they will host a ‘Rewriting the Legal Industry Summit’, capturing many of  the trends and ideas that are set to revolutionize the world of the lawyer (a topic on which co-incidentally I wrote earlier this week).

Browsing the Fondia website, I was interested to read a blog, ‘What’s The Recipe Of A Great Company?’, by Managing director Jorma Vartia. The ‘recipe’ Jorma proposes is one that many functional groups should also adopt if they want to achieve high levels of enthusiasm, innovation, staff and customer retention. So here it is:

___ grams of trust
___ cups of openness and transparency
___ grams of caring and empathy
___ tablespoons of sharing
___ grams of thanks
___ cups of listening
___ tablespoons of reinforcement and feedback
___ grams of smiles
___ tablespoons of fairness
___ grams of respect
___ grams of inspiration
___ cups of responsibility
___ grams of fun
___ grams of focus, planning, targets, follow up and measurement

Jorma suggests that the precise mix of ingredients varies over time and in accordance with priorities. But he advocates that one thing you make sure you avoid is bureaucracy. I suspect the scooters and skateboards are also optional extras!

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