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#42: Boosting Productivity While Making Associates Happier with Nina Kaufman


Law offices aren't known for trying to make life easier on their associates, and boosting productivity and happiness don't seem like they're linked. In fact, scare tactics and condescension seem to be par for the course when it comes to getting attorneys to work harder and longer.

Let me introduce you to Nina Kaufman. She helps companies boost their productivity while creating a more attractive work environment for employees. This leads to better retention rates for employees because they're happier employees.

Why can't we incorporate the kind of thinking Bay Area companies, like the ones Nina works with, into how law firms run their firms?

The answer is: we can.

My guest today breaks down where those at the top can discover how they can reach their goals without sacrificing the happiness of employees.

Nina Kaufman is the founder of You Design You based in San Francisco.  

She works with companies to create healthy, productive, and fulfilling work cultures. Her work really appeals to people who want to create a safer, more productive, and more fulfilling work culture. I also teach a lot about how to supervise people in a way that inspires them to want to grow as opposed to coercion or fear tactics.

Office culture in a law firm is varied just like any workplace, but I’ve noticed that so much of what happens in law firms is that you're only as good as your last trial/contract/client you brought into the firm. The tendency is to cluster people into “rockstars” and “island of lost toys.” This is a mentality that starts at the top and then filters its way down into the associates.

Then the associates begin looking down on other associates depending on where they're assigned — and over time there's a certain cache for each assignment based on what they've learned from their supervisors. This is something that becomes part of the firm's culture and seems impossible to uproot. This is the reason a lot of people jump ship for other firms. It's also the reason for bad morale within the firm for those who stay; they don't feel appreciated and they don't always feel like they're part of a team within the larger firm.

She’s going to talk to us today about her work which is changing this culture to create a more productive — and happier — work environment.

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