17 Oct Big Law Makes a Splash on Fishbowl: How Can You Protect Your Firm’s Reputation Online?
“Anyone have thoughts on (FIRM)? Looking at an opportunity there.”
“I’m a new corporate associate and I constantly feel like I have no idea what I’m doing,
or I’m always doing things wrong. Does anyone else feel this way?”
“Should I stay, or should I go? I am a 6th year working at a top 20 firm in private M&A. I’m also a mom of two…”
“Is it normal for senior associates to haze juniors?”
These are just a few of the comments recently published on Fishbowl, a social network for an anonymous, open, and candid conversation about work-life. According to the company, more than 30% of U.S. consulting, advertising, and accounting professionals – from junior staff to the C-suite – use Fishbowl for honest conversation and advice about their work experience. The network recently has expanded to Big Law, reporting more than 40% of lawyers and staff at top-ranked law firms have signed up.
Fishbowl differentiates itself from other social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit with its combination of anonymous discussion among a verified user community. To register, users must sign up with their real names and be verified by a work email address and LinkedIn profile. According to Fishbowl, this unique environment is a space where professionals “can talk openly and freely with anyone in your industry or company to positively influence company policies and industry norms.”
For some companies, that level of transparent conversation has done just that. Yet, countless others have struggled with negative Fishbowl gossip. So, what can Big Law firms learn from these experiences?
YOU CAN’T IGNORE THE CONVERSATION, BUT YOU CAN JOIN IT.
Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to conversations about the workplace. Employers are not only welcome to join the conversation on Fishbowl but also bring valuable insights on topics important to current employees and recruits alike. Being a part of the conversation allows firm management to differentiate itself, demonstrating the mentorship, opportunity, and stability associates and lateral hires seek and monitoring for potential issues that can affect retention.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.
When Fishbowl entered the advertising industry, management quickly discovered the need to act on complaints and rumors. After seeing rumors of suspected layoffs posted on Fishbowl, one company acted in real-time to dispel the myths both on Fishbowl and offline in a company-wide meeting. Law firms also should consider ways Fishbowl can enhance communication with employees. Monitoring conversations on the social network can bring perspective on industry-wide trends that can be leveraged in internal communications, boosting morale, and creating a more positive work environment. But it’s not enough to talk about making changes; management has to walk the walk. Law firms must demonstrate action in order to preserve and enhance their reputation.
MAKE A PLAN.
Before your firm jumps into the conversation on Fishbowl, consider developing a plan to reach your recruitment and retention objectives. Consider the areas where your firm leads and those where improvement is needed. Be proactive in joining conversations that play to your firm’s strength. Also, be prepared with a plan to monitor conversations in areas of opportunity and include responses to potential employee concerns while you work to make things better.
While social networks like Fishbowl can expose issues organizations fear, being aware of and active on these channels represents a tremendous opportunity to command and shape the narrative about your law firm.