Trilby Misso Lawyers has been declared one of the nation's best places to work, after becoming the first law firm to be accredited as a Hewitt Best Employer in Australia and New Zealand.
The accreditation means the personal injuries firm is now one of six contenders, - including online business Red Balloon - in the running for the "Best of the Best" award to be announced in March. It is the first law firm in the eight-year history of the Hewitt accreditation to be up for the top prize.
Trilby Misso CEO Graeme McFadyen said he deliberately set out to create a positive culture at the firm four years ago, identifying improvement of client services and improving the workplace as two complementary objectives.
"You can't really expect to deliver outstanding services unless you have a highly skilled and committed workforce," he said.
"Firms that excel in delivering high quality culture for the workplace, actually excel in a whole host of other criteria: firm performance, firm profitability, outstanding client service. If you tick that box on culture, you tick every other box."
Criteria for accreditation include level of engagement, leadership commitment, alignment of employees to the company strategy and a differentiated high performance culture. The level of staff engagement was measured through a series of online surveys, focus groups and interviews.
Hewitt's head of employee engagement, Mary Dimitropoulos, said: "Trilby Misso is clearly an organisation that knows its people are its best asset."
McFadyen said the firm has invested as much time and energy as possible into achieving a positive culture. "We are a high-performance environment, but [we're] trying to make the workplace as enjoyable as possible. And it's working."
As a past president of the Queensland division of the Australian Legal Practice Management Association, McFadyen has significant experience as a professional manager and has been managing law firms since 1994. He identified what works best for Trilby Misso, but said he recognised it was not as easy for larger firms to achieve a happy workplace.
"We discovered a number of years ago the benefits of specialisation. We were a general practice law firm and decided to focus on personal injury, because it's what we did best. That was probably the single most important decision that has enabled this firm to really drive ahead.
"But obviously that's not an easy answer for the very large firms that provide services across the board."
- Briana Everett