AccountingWeb’s UK site discussed a recent survey detailing the mixed emotions surrounding the typical work happy hour:
A new study entitled “Health of the Workplace” undertaken by insurance firm Aviva found that although nearly three out of five managers take staff to the pub for team building purposes, just over half of employees are not so keen on going out with their workmates and one in five actively dislike it.
The research also revealed that only 23% of bosses think that such socials create a positive sense of team spirit anyway, a third find them a bit of a drag and one in 10 feel obliged to attend to keep their staff happy.
We’ve all been there – out with “the team” to a half-assed planned happy hour finagled into that one Wednesday night between interim work and busy season. Or maybe it’s the Thursday-after-working-32-straight-days-up-to-the-filing-deadline party. Whatever the situation, I feel that many of you can relate to the rough statistics above.
I’m not saying that going out with coworkers is a bad idea, because it’s not. Interpersonal relationships with colleagues is an important factor in building trust and camaraderie on an engagement team. But if a bar scene is not the ideal environment for the group, what do you suggest?
The article continues on to say, “With budgets being tight, it might be better to spend the money on initiatives that benefit both employees and the company, for example, by providing `workplace wellness programmes.’” Big 4 firms have these initiatives already, and do you know who attends them? Certainly not the staff employees who are working from the client site!
With enough team planning, smaller engagements could work from the offices during these programs, but what about the larger, more permanent field sites? Why not have the “yoga at your desk” or “financial planning for your first child” programs visit the larger engagement sites? Book a conference room; make these events work free (no shop talk allowed); encourage people to interact with one another on a personal level.
Or we could all just sit at our desk and bitch about the mandatory Wednesday night happy hour.
It’s been a couple of weeks since we reported on the alleged incident at a PwC happy hour that involved a drunk (or roofied, depending on who you ask) partner who made his fondness for an associate known only to follow it up with a knuckle sandwich (we’re picturing a right cross).
Well, we decided to check in with a source down in H-town to see if there was any blowback from this whole situation.
I heard that PwC wasn’t going to do anything because of his client relationship and only offered the guy the chance to get off the job.
Well! Not exactly what we expected hear and we decided to check things out. Through a friend of capable means, we were able to verify the partner’s employment with the firm.
So then we emailed PwC spokesman Jon Stoner again about the incident but we have yet to hear back. Then we called the partner-in-question and left him a voicemail, asking very nicely to call us back. So far, he hasn’t returned our call but there isn’t any evidence by his greeting that he has left the firm.
So…you can see the conundrum here. What are Houston assurance associates going to do if they can’t drink beer on company dime without fearing a punch in the mouth (and possible getting an unwanted tongue down their throat)? Spend their own money? God forbid. If you know more about this, get in touch.
UDPATE: Just a few more details to share with you – we’ve heard from multiple sources that there were multiple kissing incidents at the happy hour. So while it sounds like more love (albeit unwelcome) was being spread than violence, that doesn’t mean you should be risking the invasion of your personal space for a few cocktails.
We received a tip early last week that will could make you think twice about attending the next PricewaterhouseCoopers happy hour, or at the very least, keep your eyes open for the attendees that have clearly drank themselves blind.
Our original tipster told us the following, “You should look into a PwC male partner punching a male associate at a going away happy hour in Houston, TX. Allegedly, the story is the partner got drunk, walked up to the male associate and said “I know you want to kiss me” proceeded to kiss him on the lips and then pushed and punched him.”
Well! That sounds like a helluva party. We’ve heard of partners bullying other partners before but this is a new one.
Before we go any further, we should note that while we did learn the name of the partner in question, we’re withholding the name of the person at this time since we have yet to confirm the incident first-hand with an eyewitness to the events. If you were there and can confirm these events, including whether it was a left jab or round-house uppercut and whether it was a peck or a sloppy make out attempt, email us and tell us what you saw.
Okay. So, our source proceeded to tell us that the partner had been placed on the probation and didn’t acknowledge the event for several days saying, “he didn’t remember anything that happened because the engagement team brought drugs to the happy hour.” Fairly standard black-out excuse.
Anyway, we checked on this rumor with a source in PwC’s Houston office who told us the following:
A fellow associate of mine was at an audit happy hour last Friday and he said something along the lines of “things got really, really crazy.” And he wouldn’t tell me what he meant by “really really crazy.” I guessed table dancing / hooking up, but he said no, it wasn’t like that.
Luckily for all us, our source did end up talking to the witness and told us:
I talked to my friend — he could neither “confirm or deny the events” ; however, from talking to him, it sounds like the rumor is true. Per my friend, the “issues are still under investigation by the Firm.” So its all very hush hush evidently. The client is a high profile one, so I’m sure people are being very, very careful to not let the gossip spread if it all possible.
With all this, we thought we’d better call this partner up to see what’s what. We called the Houston office, requesting the partner in question (“PIQ”) and after a pause by the receptionist, we were connected. Expecting the typical partner buffer of an admin to answer, we were surprised when the he answered. We politely introduced ourselves and asked about “an incident that happened at a recent happy hour where your name came up.”
The PIQ immediately interrupted, “I’m not allowed to discuss anything about that. Thank you very much.” and promptly hung up the phone.
We tried getting in touch with PwC spokesman Jon Stoner to see what he knew about this alleged make out/fisticuffs situation but he has yet to return our phone calls or emails. If you’ve got more details on this story, get in touch with us and we’ll update the post if we hear anything more.