As the show Suits returns for its final season, it seems as good a time as any to have a look at what invaluable lessons the show has presented throughout its runtime on television. It’s a story about a guy pretending to be a lawyer, who then stops being a lawyer, then again went back to his pretend role as a lawyer and then, well, he got exposed, went to jail and finally legally became a lawyer. Throughout what seems like a befuddling storyline (especially when put down like this), the employees of the ‘Zane Specter Litt Wheeler Williams’ law firm, formerly known as ‘Pearson Hardman’, face conflicts of several kinds, both internal and external. They deal with them in a style that is definitely not fit for anywhere outside of a fictional workplace, but after discounting the generous usage of creative liberty, we can definitely observe some noteworthy ideas.
‘Play The Man, Not The Odds’
Harvey Specter took a big risk by hiring Mike – he put not only his own reputation but also that of his firm’s on the line. Besides all the illegal elements of what they were doing, Mike was not a Harvard graduate, something dictated as necessary by the hiring policies of Pearson Hardman. By recognising the importance of Mike’s exceptional skill and encyclopaedic knowledge, Harvey made a decision that, although problematic, would lead his firm to many courtroom victories. The best closer in New York City did not concern himself too much with the nitty gritty details and instead backed the talent that he observed. Similarly, oftentimes a candidate or an employee may not seem to be fitting a traditional metric. But if you know that they have the capability, are driven and have previously performed well, it might pay to back them up. It is imperative that managers and human resource leaders be perceptive in their interactions with employees. As HR Daily Advisor puts it, ‘Empathy and emotional intelligence are key attributes for managers and human resources professionals so that (1) employees feel they can openly discuss their employment related concerns (which can include sensitive medical issues) in a safe, welcoming environment and (2) human resources and managers have their finger on the pulse of what is going on in their workplaces so that they can nip issues in the bud and avoid possible legal claims and poor morale.’
The Importance of First Impressions
Mike ran into Harvey with a suitcase full of marijuana, trying to escape a police bust. That is undoubtedly a bad first impression for anyone. But the way things proceeded after that goes to show the importance of the first impression. Mike greatly impressed with not only his knowledge, but also his ‘street-smarts’ that made him stand out against the monotony that were the other candidates. Even further ahead throughout their litigation careers, the way they seize their first meeting with a prospective client serves as the foundation for their working relationship. While it is no secret that applicants need to make the most of the time they get to establish their first impressions during the interview process, it is just as important that employers go the extra mile to stand out from the pack and win an employee’s respect and admiration from the get go. Therefore, it is important that the Hiring Team ensures punctuality when meeting/interviewing new hires and takes the time to explain important organisational policies, even going as far as giving new hires a first-hand look at what a day in the life of an employee is like. Even seemingly ordinary tasks such as employee guidelines should be prepared with special attention so that employees feel comfortable with the company culture and onboarding becomes smoother. There should be a balance between the expectations of both employee and employer.
Harvey risked his own career by believing in Mike, and this laid the foundation for a long and productive relationship. Despite initially being forced into sticking together by circumstances, the pair persisted through the challenges. The team sticks by Mike during his trial and he is welcomed back after his release. And while real life scenarios may not be this dramatic, it is important to establish a sense of trust and reliability between employees themselves and their relationship with the employers as well. To have a team as effective as theirs was, there needs to be a sense of camaraderie and knowing that you’re cared for and valued. This pushes employees to do their best for their organisation, resulting in increased productivity and overall benefits for the company.
Respect cannot be forced through company hierarchies. It is to be earned, and establishing a warm professional relationship of mutual trust goes a long way in doing so. Surprisingly, the most unlikely on-screen characters turn out to be inspiring role models for how to do things right!