The Benchmark: Cross Gunter Witherspoon & Galchus Putting People First Into Practice

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 12:00 am  

Jess Sweere, Amber Bagley, Missy Duke, Donna Galchus, Cindy Kolb, Steve Bingham, Rick Roderick of Cross Gunter Witherspoon & Galchus.

The flexible scheduling was first noticed by CGWG at one of its client’s offices. But the initiative and implementation has come from the firm’s employees.

“We said, ‘If we’re going to make it work, every-body has to be willing to be flexible,’ ” Roderick says.

The way CGWG has conducted its business has been recognized with citations and merit awards. The firm was honored in 2012 with the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility. CGWG was also recognized last year by the American Psychological Association as one of nine entities to earn a Best Practice Honor, a repeat of a similar honor in 2011.

CGWG has also received recognition at home, garnering the Ambassador Award in 2011 at the Governor’s Work-Life Balance Awards. And in 2007, Arkansas Business recognized the firm with a Business of the Year award in the Category II division.

“We’re not an eat-what-you-kill law firm,” says Roderick. “We pass work around together. It goes to what we stand for and what we represent.”

Fitting In

Having an office in one of the most bustling parts of Little Rock is helpful for Cross Gunter Witherspoon & Galchus in getting out into the community, but its location adjacent to the Museum of Discovery doesn’t lend itself very well to expansion.

But it’s that tight space that has led to some creativity in making the workplace more comfortable.

Business manager Julia Strickland says one of the firm’s goals is to not offer “cookie-cutter” type benefits that no one will use. So during an employee meeting, the idea of having a fitness center came up. But how do you accomplish that when the installation cost isn’t beneficial and besides, there isn’t any space anyway?

“Since there wasn’t a workout facility or some type of gym nearby, we came up with the idea of the gym across the street at the Marriott Courtyard,” says Strickland.

After an agreement with the hotel was made, the law firm employees now had a gym they can utilize almost any time they want.

The law offices did see one expansion: a new shower. Not only can staff refresh themselves in a familiar environment after workouts, but it’s also there for any worker who wants to save gas and bike to work.



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