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Business & Legal Ethics
• November 11, 2009 | 9:37 AM MST
Late last week, I had the opportunity to meet with Patricia Gillette, a partner with San Francisco-based Orrick, Harrington & Sutcliffe, LLP. Gillette, a co-founder of the “Opt In Project,” has become a recognized speaker within the legal and business communities on the subject of retaining employees, both male and female.
Gillette, whose specialty is employment law, told me that she has long been interested in how law firms and other business entities can retain their best employees. Initially, the Opt-In Project focused on what steps could be taken to make the work environment more supportive of women, especially those who had chosen to opt out of the workforce to become mothers. As researchers gathered data about the Millennial Generation, it became apparent that the workplace of the future will need to change to accommodate its male and female workers.
We briefly spoke about the impending end of the Great Recession of 2009. I asked Gillette, “After all the lay-offs, will organizations be able to build long-term loyalty?” Her general reaction was that it’s not going to be easy. “A lot of trust has been broken” over the past year, Gillette maintained. It will take a lot of time and a lot of work for that trust to be recovered.
Gillette noted, however, that one of the key attributes of the Millennial Generation is their desire to “belong to a community.” Organizations that focus on building community rather than growing bigger have the best chance for long-term success.