How Do You Handle HR During a Merger? A Case Study

The Challenge

Recently, TREW HR was brought in to help three companies merge into one. All three firms had about 50 employees and therefore, they did not have a fully staffed HR department. The resulting company would have over 140 employees in multiples states which would be uncharted territory for the HR function at any of the firms.

While leaders at all three firms were looking forward to the strategic and operational value that merging would bring, they didn’t have the time, staff or expertise to manage the process of merging three payrolls, benefits, sets of HR policies, or all the systems and vendors that come along with modern HR. And most importantly, they were not able to communicate how each decision would affect the employees.

Failing to manage the process in an orderly, timely manner, while communicating critical information would start the new company off on the wrong foot, potentially to leading many disengaged workers.  Employee turnover is an expected component of mergers, but minimizing it was key. How do you focus on the strategic considerations while minimizing disruptions to keep productivity at expected levels?

The Solution

TREW immediately launched a change management process that began with clear, concise communication to employees of the upcoming merger. TREW’s role in this merger was to act as the liaison between employees and leadership, answering questions and identifying areas of concern. TREW also outlined what operational tasks needed to happen and when it would need to be completed by to ensure that all companies remained up and running from an HR perspective. This included upgrading the new firm’s human resources information system to a full-service platform that would be able to accommodate the volume and complexity of a 50 employee firm.

While managing the process of upgrading from paper files to a digital system, TREW was also able to audit the new company’s employee files to ensure compliance with any laws and regulations, saving time, money and avoiding potential enforcement actions, while making the most of the change process internally. TREW is a full-service HR team and was also able to handle employee status changes that occurred including promotions, lateral changes, terminations, or new hires.

During and change, every employee is deciding whether the change is for the better or for the worse. TREW was able to partner with the merging companies to provide a professional, detailed, timely transition that communicated confidence to the employees that the merger was a step forward.

The Results

Following the merger, the new firm engaged TREW to revise their handbook, handle a range of ongoing HR needs like benefits administration, employee relations, performance management, and serving as 401(k) plan liaison. Additionally, TREW will provide manager training to equip the firm’s managers to handle conflict resolution, difficult conversations, disciplinary action, conducting performance reviews, professionalism, team building, bias training.

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