Dealing with a Business Merger in HR
August 19 2020 - From managing employee records, implementing training programmes, and dealing with conflict in the workplace, it can be an overwhelming career at times. However, there are also great benefits to working in a role like this, and many skills can be gained and developed during your career. One such challenge you might face working in an HR department is dealing with a business merger. While this can be an exciting time, it can also pose a lot of challenges, and many of these issues require HR to deal with it. If you're a director of HR or working within the department, below are some tips to help you manage a merger more effectively.
Get the Facts
You must get as much information as possible regarding the merger. You should try to be involved in these plans from the early stages, as this will help you to better understand what to expect and what both companies are wanting to achieve from it. In particular, try to find out whether or not there will be changes to employment contracts, whether there will be redundancies, and what the new business goals will be.
Whatever it is you're dealing with, communicating properly with your team and other departments is always essential. However, during a merger, things can become turbulent, and so it's easy for things to be misunderstood or for information to not be passed on as and when it should be. To help make this transitional period go as smoothly as possible, make sure your department is communicating with each other clearly and regularly. Chase up any queries that haven't yet been answered by the company leaders and keep them in the loop of where you're up to in the process to avoid unnecessary stress and delays.
Amongst other things, your payroll systems might change"as a result of two companies becoming one. If this is the case, you will have to take the time to train the HR department on how to navigate the new systems so that the switch can be seamless. If there are issues here, employees might not get paid correctly or on time, and this can cause distress and upset throughout the company. Be prepared for this problem, but try to avoid it as best you can to make sure everyone is kept happy and reduce a backlog of work later on.
Employee training is an essential part of any company, and yet another task that falls on the shoulders of the HR department. Training should be updated once every few years to keep up with evolving business models and health and safety standards, etc. Although current training materials might be up-to-date, there still might need to be alterations because of the merger. Speak to the company leaders about this, and find out whether or not there are key areas that will be changing because of this. You will also need to arrange a suitable time to carry out employee training and start this process.
Don't Forget About Other Tasks
With so much going on during a business merger, it can be easy to become preoccupied with that alone. You mustn't forget about other HR tasks that must be carried out, as this could result in confusion and disruption to employees as well as your team. Being organised is a key skill required in HR, and during a business merger, it needs to be maintained to the highest standard. Split the HR department into teams if that's easier (or possible for smaller businesses) and create task forces to make sure everything is being done properly and on time. Touch base with everyone once or twice a week to make sure everyone is working in-sync with each other and has all the right information.
Develop a Strong Integration Plan
Merging two companies can lead to clashes in culture, whether it's because they are from different countries or simply have different philosophies when it comes to management in the workplace. It's important to address these potential issues and develop a strong integration plan early on to keep things clear and help to make the merger easier for everyone.
While a business merger can be a fantastic opportunity and an exciting development for a company, there is always lots to think about and do before any deals can be finalised. HR has a lot of responsibilities, and helping with a business merger is just one of them. Use these tips as a guide to help your HR department cope with it.