When E. F. Hutton Talks, Employees Color Pictures
You know you’re in trouble when the boss mails you a coloring book and some crayons. That’s precisely the message that E. F. Hutton & Co. is trying to get across.
‘We’re no longer the nicest house on the block,” says the “Hutton Coloring Book,” which is being mailed to 18,500 employees. “We’re not even close. In fact, we’re in big trouble.” “A coloring book is a very simple and participatory means for different levels of people to all get the same message,” said Jerry C. Welsh, senior executive vice president for marketing and strategy, who devised the idea for rallying the dispirited troops.
Welsh said the 30-page book, with cute drawings of houses, racing cars and children, warns employees about the dangers of complacency and sloppiness.
Hutton has suffered hard times the past few years, particularly the check-overdrafting scandal in 1985 in which it pleaded guilty to 2,000 counts of mail and wire fraud. The firm lost $90 million last year and it has been the object of takeover rumors.
The book includes a picture of young toughs wearing T-shirts labeled “Sears” and “Schwabs Cut-Rate Cowboys,” referring to two of E. F. Hutton’s competitors.
However, it all ends happily in the coloring book as the Hutton kids build a racing car and win the brokerage race by cutting costs and improving service.