A report on talent from the Corporate Executive Board identifies 38 attributes of an “Employment Value Proposition.” Sorted into five broad categories, one is “People” and includes “camaraderie” and “collegial work environment.” How might a general counsel measure the “friends factor” in his or her legal department?
A general counsel could survey how many times a month members go for a social lunch, not a purposeful lunch such as recruitment, with another member of the department. Or ask how many times a month members meet someone from the department socially after work hours? A more direct question would ask them to rate the friendliness of the department on a scale. A bit far-fetched, but an email filter could estimate the number of non-work related emails or IMs went back and forth. Suppose we count the number of enjoyable events per month, such as football pools, birthday parties, showers and going-away parties. We could mix in the results from a question or two on the company-wide morale or engagement survey. All that data would let us create an index for the department’s friend factor.
If several legal groups did this and shared their benchmark data, would it turn out that friendlier departments were any more efficient? I doubt it. People do befriend others at work but often the connections are superficial and not conducive to greater productivity or efficiency.