Firm Culture

In response to disturbing changes at my firm, I sent the following e-mail to our regional director of professional services:

I’m growing increasingly worried about the culture at [Firm].  When I joined, I was led to believe that certain things were important here, but I’m starting to think that we’re losing some of what makes us who we are.  For instance, I feel like every day I notice more and more new people in the cafeteria, yet the level of donuts has remained relatively constant.  Four years ago, it was communicated to me that when you joined [Firm], if you wanted a successful career you brought in donuts within your first week or two.

I’m concerned that one of two things has happened:

  1. Donuts are still important, and we are not setting up our new consultants for success by failing to inform them of that.
  2. Donuts are no longer important, in which case we are starting to lose grasp on our values and may need to rethink who we are and how we integrate new people onto the team

At first, I thought this may have been my perception – I was out of the office with clients for most of March and April.  However, as the graph below demonstrates, “New People” is rising significantly faster than “Donuts.”  This is even more disconcerting because neither of the two donut events were the result of new hires, which means we may be doing a poor job of communicating this tradition.


I know how important the firm culture is to you, so I thought I’d bring this concern to your attention.  Never one to just throw stones, I thought of some suggestions that may help us keep this vital piece of who we are:

  1. Integrate the importance of bringing donuts your first week into the new employee orientation
  2. Have each new employee pass on the tradition to the next new employee
  3. Create a “Donut Captain” responsible for holding new employees accountable
  4. Pass out Dunkin Donuts coupons to employees with their benefits forms
  5. Since we are bringing in a large class of new employees, fire the last new employee to bring in donuts

I’m in meetings with clients this week, but I know how important this is, so if you want to brainstorm I’ll be sure to make time.

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