Recently there has been a rash of company acquisitions and takeovers. On a recent trip to Asia, I saw some very specific examples. With this activity in the air, you cannot help but think about how this could affect you and your organization, and what steps you would take to insure your new employees of their position, once a takeover took place.
Take the collapse of Bear Stearns, and JP Morgan Chase’s takeover. In the wake of this merger, most of the Bear Stearns employees are faced with the possibility that they will be in search of new jobs. For those who remain there is the challenge of becoming more flexible in dealing with a new corporate culture. When working for one organization for so long, employees become set in the ways of doing business as one organization wanted it done, and now must adhere to a whole new set of expectations.
Bear Stearns is not the only company to recently find its employees sweating a takeover. There is the ongoing battle between Rio Tinto Group fending off a takeover from BHP Billiton Ltd. If successful this could be the largest acquisition in corporate history, as told by a recent article in the Herald Tribune (http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/11/08/business/mine.3-167760.php). Where would this leave the employees of Rio Tinto Group? And what opportunities are there for both them and the employees of BHP?
As a manager how would you handle a new set of employees whose mindset is still entrenched with the old organization’s thinking? Merging old corporate cultures with new is a common issue. There isn’t a set management style that is effective for every organization. It may be hard for employees to shift to a new culture, but it is doable. Change cannot take place overnight; however following these steps will facilitate the process.
Communication.Communicating with employees and getting their feedback on issues is a very important first step to take. It is where it all begins! This allows you to find out what employees think are the current problems within the company, and how they would like to see them solved. It’s important to let employees know their voice counts and that management is dedicated to coming up with a solution everyone can adapt to.
Identify the Problems. Once the listening begins you can start getting to the root of all the problems. Effective leaders place a high value on understanding, and creating a common ground to resolve issues. This is where you should ask employees what the issues are, what are possible solutions, and finally what is the best solution. This may require numerous meetings with everyone in the company. The key here is compromise, change has occurred and everyone may have to alter the way they are used to doing things.
Implementing Changes.Once everyone has shared his or her own thoughts and opinions, it’s time for management put things into effect. A new code of ethics and a mission statement should be devised. This will encourage employees to all work towards a common goal. Having employees work together in teams to discuss and resolve problems is a way everyone can adapt together. Employees will begin to feel respected and valued, along with being able to trust their new co-workers.
These are just the beginning steps to creating synergy among employees. Remember good leaders realize the importance of their people’s involvement in and “ownership” of the resolutions that are made. Continue to seek feedback, suggestions, and input.