The Four Pillars of Employee Happiness with Craig Goldenfarb

Achieving law firm success can sometimes feel like an elusive dream. It's easy to get lost in the numbers and KPIs. Here's the thing, those are important metrics, but you may be overlooking some of the most crucial pillars of your firm — your people. 

People aren't numbers. You might hire incredible employees, but what are you doing to make them stay and grow? 

In this episode, Craig Goldenfarb is back to talk about workplace culture. He shares the four pillars of good workplace culture and how any law firm, big or small, can start to change. He shares insights and ideas on company events, programs, and even incentives. Get inspired by the workplace culture Craig has created and recreate it for your law firm. 

Remember, if your workplace is a place people want to work in, employees are naturally more productive and creative. 

If you struggle with high turnover rates, a lack of innovation and initiative, and unengaged employees. In that case, it may be time to learn about the pillars of effective workplace culture.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode

  1. Learn the four pillars of any workplace culture. 
  2. Discover how to keep employees motivated and engaged. 
  3. Realize how empowerment, organization, encouragement, and incentives play a part in keeping employees. 



Episode Highlights

How Culture Creates Law Firm Success 

  • Craig shares attributing culture as one of the top three things contributing to his law firm's success. 
  • While people want to follow a leader, they also want to follow a feeling. Work culture is that feeling. 
  • For Craig, CEO also stands for Chief Encouragement Officer. He finds ways to inspire and encourage his team. 
  • There are two main categories of management and leadership: the carrot-and-stick method versus the trust and inspire method. 

How to Inspire Others 

  • Craig shares his combination of the trust and inspire method with carrots. He avoids the stick because he doesn't want to penalize people. 
  • Craig's company uses the Entrepreneurial Operating System, which emphasizes aligning the need to align people to a mission statement and core values. 
  • Your mission statement is rooted in your corporate why. 
  • It's vital to discuss the company's core values. People need to be aware of them and work according to their values. 
  • When hiring people, you need to be more than just the right person for the job and the right fit for your organization's core values. 

Four Pillars to Creating a Good Work Culture

  • Craig shares four pillars of effective company culture. The first is defining it through mission statements and core values. 
  • Second, make a great place to work. It means making employees look forward to work and making it a safe, warm, and fun place.  
  • Third, compensate employees well and figure out what they want. Craig recommends reading the Five Love Languages at the workplace.   
  • Fourth, keep them engaged and fulfilled. 
  • For Craig, being a boss is more like being a guide. A leader is commonly considered someone above you, but a guide is a partner. 

Craig: “Companies, in general, with happy employees, produce 37% greater sales, are 31% more productive, are 23% less tired, and are way more creative, way more creative.”

Keeping Employees Engaged 

  • Employee engagement can include community and charitable involvement. 
  • Craig also created a game room in the company with rules on using it. The room helps people take a break from work. 
  • People can go to the game room for 15-20 minutes twice a day. The company also uses the room for celebrations. 

Craig: "If you give people the freedom to go from the left brain to the right brain and have some fun…or right brain to the left brain…that keeps them engaged and fulfilled. How many law firms or professional services companies have a game room? Not a lot."

Why You Should Start Building These Pillars Today 

  • Some people think celebrations and breaks are not feasible for smaller firms. The truth is, everyone should engage that way today. 
  • Other events Craig made in his company include Wear Red Day and Bring Your Kids to Work Day.
  • He also encourages everyone to appreciate their employees. It's also essential to ask for their feedback. 
  • He also makes the employee of the month feel special with various rewards.  
  • In the entire episode, Craig gives more ideas on how to engage your employees. 

Improve Employee Initiative

  • Before improving employee initiative, you must ensure that people align with your vision. 

Craig: “Find people who are aligned with your vision. Because if they're aligned with your vision, then they will innovate.”

  • Next, build trust and inspire them to innovate. You can even give an incentive for innovation.
  • Create a culture where people are encouraged to share ideas with their boss, not terrified of it.  

Craig: "Always fault the leader. If anything goes wrong, I take ownership of it because I have not inspired them correctly to innovate."

The Importance of Empowerment and Work Stability

  • Key performance indicators are often decided top-down. Craig instead lets whoever is in charge come up with a draft of KPIs. 
  • Let your employees start the process rather than tell them what to do. They know the work better than you do. 
  • You will get their buy-in when employees are allowed to give their input.
  • Work environments with bad bosses and culture will keep people in fear and instability. People can't work well when they're anxious. 
  • Craig's firm pushes for a No Drama policy to create a stable work environment where no one is triggered.  

Craig: “If you have input that you give to your staff, you get to buy, and when you have to buy in, you have success.”

Create Structure, Organization, and Clarity 

  • Employees should know what they're supposed to do and the company's expectations. There should be structure and training. 
  • Having no training will create and trigger fear and discomfort. 
  • Start slowly and create structures. 

Moshe: "So many firm owners…start off hiring people…they know they need people, but there's no plan around how am I going to make sure that they know what they need to do, that they know what they're supposed to do, that they're clear on what their job is."

Remember to Encourage Employees 

  • Craig goes the extra mile to encourage employees. He always walks around with gift cards and takes one employee to lunch weekly. 
  • The lunch isn't to talk about work; it's about learning more about his employees. 
  • Make sure people have the opportunity to grow. The only way to know what people want is to ask them. Craig always posts job openings internally first. 
  • They also have mental health programs and opportunities for continuing legal education and personal development. 

Craig's Advice

  • Realize that work culture will impact your success. 
  • Focus on your people.
  • Build the pillars of and buy into the culture you want to create.

Craig: “Adopt and really relish the fact that work culture is one of the top three things, or maybe even the top two things, that leads to success. Your people are your business. It's not about you; it's about them.”

About Craig

Craig Goldenfarb is the CEO and founder of Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb, P. A. Since 2002, it has grown into a successful law firm with more than70 employees and 12 attorneys. It primarily focuses on personal injury cases, ranging from transportation accidents and premises liabilities to critical injury cases. To view their services, visit their website

Craig is an active reviewer for lawyers and law firms regarding various topics, including litigation and the justice system. He coaches for the Atticus Personal Injury Academy, a workshop for personal injury attorneys to grow their firms exponentially. 

He founded and currently leads the 7-Figure Attorney Summit, a conference that helps provide insight to attorneys on growing their law firms and serving their clients better. The next event will be in Atlanta on April 20, 2023. 

For more information, connect with Craig through LinkedIn.

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Have any questions? You can contact me through Facebook and LinkedIn. To request a show topic, recommend a guest, or ask a question for the show, please send an email to [email protected].


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