Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mindless Corporate Penny Pinching: Slate reported on Monday on what it calls “mindless corporate penny-pinching,” offering the observation that: “What ends up infuriating employees is that the scrimping on minor employee perks co-exists with a pay-any-price attitude for so much else. Credit Suisse, for example, pays seven-figure bonuses to hundreds of bankers every year. Telling associates who prepare deal books that they can’t print out color PowerPoint slides because the bank needs to pinch pennies seems an exercise in futility.”

More interestingly—and predictably—the article prompted readers to offer their own, considerably more idiotic, examples. Paper clips appear to be a particularly popular source of savings.

“Former Bear Stearns employee B.B. recalls being given a bag of paper clips on his first day ‘with the explanation that the firm would never buy paperclips … This was on the direction of [legendary gazillionaire CEO] Ace Greenberg, and the company seemed almost proud of this inane cost-cutting measure.’ A former Bank of America investment-banking analyst recalls that the megabank ‘once told its employees to use paper clips instead of staples because paper clips could be re-used to save money.’”

Leaving aside the propriety of focusing on such minor matters at a time when CEO compensation is increasing exponentially, these moves don’t seem to me to be designed primarily to save money; surely their main purpose is simply to infuriate employees.

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