Morale Boost

At Least One Grant Thornton Office Doesn’t Think It’s Too Early To Discuss Holiday Parties

From the mailbag, straight out of H-town:

Today, sept 1st, I got a save the date for the 2010 Christmas party. So yes GT Houston is having a Christmas party this year and apparently they are so excited about it, they wanted to let everyone know way in advance! Woot!

Is this some sort of retention tactic? Probably too little too late…..


Grant Thornton’s timing of this announcement is interesting on several counts. First, Christmaskuh was canceled by KPMG last year in early August. Since this is the first Holiday Ho down news we’ve received for any firm, this may be a good sign.

Second, our source’s suspicion is noted – is GT Houston employing a free booze morale booster here? Will the promise of catering, free hard liquor (at the very least beer and wine) and the opportunity for awkward sexual advances help rally that office back to indifference as opposed to downright morbidity? Oh and watch out for a certain PwC partner who might try to crash the party since he’ll likely be kept away from the booze at his own.

Discuss the early holiday cheer. And keep us informed about your firm’s/office’s holiday rager status.

Any Attempts by Accounting Firms to Boost Morale May Be Too Late

From an accountant familiar with E&Y:

We got two voicemails today, one from head of Banking and one from the Vice-Chair of people, both talking about compensation. I think the underlying fear is that we don’t have enough people anymore in our practice because they keep stressing all the things that the partners are going to do besides compensation to boost morale (like have a lunch with staff sometime around cinco de Mayo).


The last month and a half has been a bit, shall we say, tough on the E&Y and the troops. That being said, the news that Ernie would beat P. Dubs raises may or may not have got some people to relax but it appears that the firm’s leadership is still on the offensive to keep spirits high.

After discussing it with our resident HR expert, the problem with these little wine & dine events is that at this point they are too little, too late. People don’t want they faces fed. They want answers. They are crawling the walls with anxiety about three things:

1. What raises will be.
2. If there will be a bonus pool.
3. Who is getting promoted.

And they want to know the answers ASAP. Raises have been triple-reassured at all the firms and people want to know that number; they want to know if there’s a bonus pool.

Everyone at the point of promotion has made up their minds about what they will do if they get promoted or not. Plus everyone who is not up for promotion is talking about who will get promoted, who won’t and the reactions that will result (e.g. storming out of the office or a nervous breakdown).

The reality is that these things take time. The fact that PwC put a number out there was impressive (and some have said, desperate) shows that partners are aware of the anxiety and they’re trying to get people to relax.

Deloitte is up first, as their fiscal ends 5/31 and we’ve heard that there has been generosity passed around there but it will ultimately depend on the the merit increases. We hear their all hands webcast is coming up soon and that discussions are occurring this month so it won’t be long.

No amount of margaritas, $100 bonuses or NHL playoff hockey tickets will change the fact that people have worked it out in their heads about what they will do when they get the news. And once that news is known, people will act fast. We would encourage everyone to be patient, try and be rational etc. etc. but we also know that’s an futile request.

Quote of the Day: March Madness Pools Are an Important Busy Season Distraction | 03.08.10

“This year of all years, the importance of camaraderie and bringing employees together is greater than ever. If people are talking about March Madness, they’re not talking about the state of the business, or the pay cuts, or the layoffs, or things like that”

~ Jonathan Shapiro, partner at labor and employment firm Fisher & Phillips, on why betting pools and even game-watching are good morale boosters.

Motivating Words During Busy Season, Deloitte Edition

From a friend of GC:

If you’ve got your own words of encouragement for this busy season for Deloitte, or your own firm, feel free to share. Or if you’re feeling creative send us your poster to share with the group.

Rumor Mill: Ernst & Young’s Latest Attempt to Boost the Morale

confidence.jpgNot feeling hot about your career lately? Needing some love from TPTB? Apparently one E&Y office is taking a stab at a solution. Not a Starbucks card. Not a year’s subscription to the jelly-of-the-month club. And sorry, Christmaskah is still cancelled. No, this is a completely arbitrary way to win your love.
According to a tip we received, in the Dallas office, all positions that are manager and above are now known as “executives”. As if you didn’t need another reason to stick around until making manager.
Despite the much needed kick-start this may give to the psyche of managers, won’t this cause confusion among the staff?
Manager, director, partner. Simple. If everyone is considered an “executive” the whole hierarchy might become meaningless. And if there’s no hierarchy, we very well may have chaos.
The other problem is that some people take their title very SERIOUSLY. Ever called a “senior manager” a “manager” by mistake? You haven’t known the wrath of an unmerciful, passive-aggressive God if you haven’t. Now if you accidently forget that someone is also an “executive”…Watch out.
It’s not entirely clear if this is a firmwide thing so run it by Steve-o tonight or discuss your feelings on this latest attempt to rally the troops (some of you anyway) in the comments.