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.
Morale Boost – What’s it Going to Take?
As we reach another major deadline tomorrow, the rumors about layoffs have begun again. After years of bragging about how the awesome job security we all enjoy, accountants now find themselves as expendable as any other profession.
While that might be a stretch, it certainly feels that way. Morale at most firms continues to be in free fall but the communication from your firms seems to indicate that leadership has their heads in the sand when it comes to how you’re all doing. Instead, the message seems to be “we need you to do more, with less” but we really, really appreciate it.
Try to feel better, after the jump
Since one firm has already decided a certain, end of the year party isn’t going to happen, anything short of setting up kissing booths filled with Kardashians or Clooney/Pitt types, isn’t going to get the remaining troops to rally for the upcoming busy season.
And judging by your discussions, the upcoming busy season might seem like something between the fourth and fifth circles of the Inferno. So in order to get some ideas thrown out there, discuss in the comments your suggestions so your firm can get your love again.
We’ve already suggested McGladrey & Pullen make better use of their relationship with Natalie Gulbis but we’re not holding our breath on that front.
Now That the #1 Spot Is Secure, Deloitte Is Making Some Changes
We’re not sure when Deloitte dropped the hammer on Pandora but the timing of us hearing about it is dubious since the coveted #1 spot on BW’s list is safely in print.
Much like E&Y, we’re curious as to the motivation here. Bandwidth sucking notwithstanding, your morale doesn’t seem to be much of a concern here. Green dots, kindly discuss in comments your theories behind the latest buzz kill. The rest of you (minus E&Y, natch) can share what you’re listening to currently as pure schadenfreude.