Practice Development Counsel

Phyllis weiss haserot
Phyllis weiss haserot

President & Founder

212 593-1549

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Reorienting Orientation

Firms and companies are still trying to figure out the newest generation in the workplace. As more of the Millennial/Y generation continue to enter firms for what they expect will be very short term stays, partners and managers agonize. They attend conference sessions and webcasts, and they bring in generational experts for seminars. They are looking for the secret sauce that will turn the young recruits into the more traditional, driven professionals they knew and could count on to work hard, aspire to partnership, and stick around for three to five years, at which point they will have made money for the firm.

The resolution will require, whether they like it or not, more attitude- and behavior-changing on the part of partners and senior associates or managers than they are likely to get from Generation Y. It will require creative thinking, new offerings and more savvy and generation-sensitive management to engage and have the desired effect on the younger generation. I see this as a three-prong approach:

1) New management thinking translated into action

2) Greatly enhanced orientation programs

3) Facilitated dialogues among work teams

I have written about item #3 previously. This article will focus on pumping up orientation programs. Not incidentally, these changes in orientation will benefit Generation X and many partners as well as they open their minds and participate in orientation programs.

Here are the topics I recommend to add to firm orientation programs ASAP. I would go so far as to say they are appropriate for summer interns (students) as well as first year associates and professional staff and young contract attorneys or other freelance professionals working in a firm's offices.
* Understanding the economics of a firm.

* How the perceptions of others (partners, supervisors, colleagues, lients) affect career
progress. This would cover behavior, attire, perceptions of work ethic, etc.

* How to initiate conversations with partners and supervisors, and how to ask for feedback

* Expectations - the firm's and yours.

* How to channel creativity appropriately (and why certain behaviors and self-expression may hurt others or the firm).

In addition, from my observations and reports from professional development, marketing and human resource directors as well as partners, there is a clear need for better orientation for the people brought in laterally. Particularly relevant are:

* Briefings on the economics of the firm and how they affect revenues and costs.

* Firm culture and values.

* How to manage junior associates and staff.

For maximum attention, perhaps (I suggest not facetiously) orientation information should be posted on YouTube or a firm MySpace (or similar site) page as well as delivered in person at the firm.


© Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2007. All rights reserved

Phyllis is available to speak at your organization or at firm retreats on inter-generational relations and organizational effectiveness topics. Call or e-mail pwhaserot@pdcounsel. com for a list of topics or to custom-tailor your own.

For coaching, training and special programs on inter-generational relations and maximizing the potential of young professionals, call Phyllis for an exploratory talk or complimentary coaching session at 212-593-1549.
See and We also provide *Next Generation, Next Destination* transitioning planning programs and services for baby boomer senior professionals and their firms.

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