To the Executive Committee:
Attached is a note that has been sent to our managers regarding off-site and team-building meetings. My impression is that our commendable efforts to build transatlantic synergies are resulting in too many get-togethers that require substantial travel. Our challenge is that such gatherings are far more costly and time-consuming for us to attend than our Houston colleagues might realize. Often, participating in these meetings takes an entire week for Enron Europe employees (especially if they are outside of Texas). Naturally, they may feel that this time of year (PRC time) is exactly the wrong time from a career perspective to miss this kind of gathering.
These off-sites are sometimes scheduled at the end of a quarter, which compounds the difficulty; worse still are the times they occur at the end of Q2, since it also coincides and conflicts with the PRC process.
I would appreciate your efforts to remind your managers to consider the travel time and costs (both direct and indirect) when inviting international employees to off-site meetings in the US. We appreciate the chance to be included in the broader Enron initiatives and to share ideas across organizations, but we are really trying to reinforce the message about managing expenses.
(Letter sent to all Enron Europe VPs and direct reports)
We still have issues regarding Offsites and 'Team Building' exercises. In particular, we have recently had examples of departments failing to inform other key work groups when workplace absences are pending.
In order to avoid misunderstandings, and to increase transparency, the following will apply with immediate effect:
Any Offsite or 'Team Building' exercise which any group (both commercial and non-commercial, and including John and myself)intends to undertake must be communicated, in advance, to all department heads. Issue to be identified include: all participants who will out of the office, total costs of the exercise; and, where appropriate, work load coverage details.
John and I are very supportive of team building exercises but we much prefer that they be conducted in the evenings or at weekends. To the extent that is not possible, we must absolutely avoid quarter ends and ensure all work is appropriately covered.
Trips to Houston and especially resorts in the US are far more difficult to justify based on the substantial travel time and costs involved. So please pay particular attention to optimising our transatlantic travel.
Please communicate this policy to your staff.