How Do We Explain Our Firm’s Unusual Culture?

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dear Bev,

Our team has worked together for almost 20 years. We have four senior partners and six support people. We recently added a seventh member to the support team because of the explosive growth we have experienced over the last 18 months.

The new member of the support team is young and not very experienced in business in general and she has been complaining to our most senior support member, an older woman in her 60s, about how crass and insulting we are. We aren’t crass and insulting but we do like to poke fun and give one another a hard time about things we do wrong. We go so far as to send out emails – “Glenn’s latest screw-up!” and then go on to say what the problem was and what we are doing to fix it. We have not done this with our new hire, but we do it with one another on at least a weekly basis.

I can see why, from someone else’s point of view, this could be upsetting. But it is the way we’ve worked together for many years and we all understand the jokes.

When an advisory firm brings on a new hire, should that person adapt to the culture or must the culture change for the person?