Can you 'Deloitte and Touche' it?

Deborah Hobson

DeloitteLife can be tough for city highfliers. Six figure salaries, huge bonuses, a champagne lifestyle and bosses keen to keep them on top of their game. Team building, bonding and energizing the workforce are buzz words for employers like leading accountancy firm Deloitte and Touche, who made headline news recently after one of its millionaire partners, Kenneth Mcfarlane, appealed against a £250,000 a year for life divorce settlement awarded to his ex-wife. Paint balling, wading through freezing rivers on ‘missions’ and martial art sessions are some of the bizarre methods used to motivate pampered executives. However, Deloitte and Touche have taken this to a new and dangerous level.

The- Latest has learnt that SI Corporate Development Ltd, a company that runs motivational training days, was ordered to pay costs and fines totalling £7,655.00 at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court, London, UK, following an investigation by Southwark Council's Occupational Health and Safety Unit. A coaching day organised for Deloitte and Touche staff at London Bridge ended in disaster when a woman employee suffered burns to her naked feet after a ‘fire-walk’ which involved stepping on hot coals in a car park  Although the injured worker completed the task, she complained of pain to her feet. A blister soon appeared, but when she showed it to the organisers, she was told dismissively that she had ‘fire kisses’ and would be fine the following day. In fact, the victims discomfort became so severe that she was taken to hospital by an SI Corporate director and remained off work for 14 days.

In court, SI Corporate Development pleaded guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 for failing to “discharge a duty to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of the health and safety of a person not in their employment”.

Perhaps Deloitte and Touche would do well to consider safer ways of inspiring their ‘troops’. A new team-bonding activity for small groups has been launched by the Novetel London West group in the UK. The “Five Senses Experience” gives participants the chance to challenge their powers of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. Everyday foods such as ice cream are given unusual flavours and colours to test delegates’ taste buds.  The experience ends in a spectacular ring-shaped platter of intriguing dishes which guests taste and identify. General manager Rene Angoujard says: “Talking about food and tastes can bring back memories and reveal a lot about people-it’s a great way to get to know colleagues better in a non-competitive setting”.

 That’s more like it.