Kelly Baughman at the ATD Conference

Kelly Baughman at the ATD Conference

On Thursday, September 19th, from 1:30 - 2:30 PM, Kelly Baughman will be speaking at the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Conference. She will uncover Transformational Change, the kind of change that’s a step function in growth, satisfaction, and ROI/E for organizations.

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Mergers + Acquisitions

Learn key takeaways from Kelly Baughman's 20 years of Business Transition experience through this webinar video on mergers, acquisitions, reorganization and consolidations. View Video and listen as Kelly explores the following:

+ Preparation for process
+ Consideration of place
+ Emphasis on people
+ Provide clarity
+ Promote stability
+ Increase efficiency

During a merger or acquisition, the impact to workplace is typically low on the priority list of considerations and is quickly dwarfed by the judicial, political, and financial impacts to the companies involved. However, the physical integration and move experience is the first organized endeavor of cultural fit and integration that employees see and feel.  It can leave a powerful positive or negative taste. In a period of high anxiety and fear, empathy and compassion will lead to happier, productive employees from the onset.

The physical integration that takes place during a merger or acquisition is, more times than not, a colossal puzzle of moving pieces. Early identification of construction limitations, real estate terms, and business pressures help to inform specific questions such as which office locations will become primary, which business units will remain while others get dismantled, which technology systems will be consolidated, and where can swing space be acquired, etc.

Data, tools, and processes are important, but scenario planning is critical. The sequencing of hundreds or thousands of moves needs to be exact and detailed, and yet dynamic and flexible to reflect the prioritization variables.  While most companies try to limit change as much as possible during this period, some are more radical and opt for taking this opportunity to change their entire organizational structures. 

In the first 100 days, the goal is simple: “Get them together in the best place possible and make it work; Fast.” By minimizing disruption, we are able to prioritize change. Below are four insights to ensure that the first 100 Days are successful:

Companies consistently overlook the complications of planning the physical space needs of the new organization and the impact of having trained transition teams. Before the rapid technological changes of the last decade, the benchmark for a successful migration was that an employee would arrive at 8 a.m. and be fully set-up and operational by noon. Today, the experience is much more of a white-glove service. Within the first hour, the employee finds their desk, unpacks a crate, confirms that things are running smoothly with a member of the support team, and signs up to participate in one of the training sessions running continuously during the first week.

A major hazard to the physical integration is not having clear, defined, and consistent rules for employees and managers.  This one-size-fits-most approach necessitates that an exception process is well defined, well known and whole-heartedly endorsed by both the leadership team and the project team. While individuals still need a forum to be heard, exceptions must only be allowed on a consistent basis.

While this may be difficult to accomplish given the speed of integration in the first few months, if the selection of space types and furniture settings are drastically different in terms of style, quality or prestige from previous experiences then change management should be introduced in order to manage expectations. 

The highest levels of leadership typically pass down decisions for implementation but that does not negate the need to engage with business and service lines to understand their unique requirements and situations.  Processes and moves can be tailored to adjust to specific timing constraints and technological requirements.

Collective PDR M&A experience
20,000+ individuals; global relocation strategy and physical moves; BP & Amoco, Exxon & Mobil, Conoco & Phillips, Conoco Phillips and Burlington Resources, Conoco & Phillips (separation)