Your company has just gone through a merger. This, naturally, is a big change for employees and presents a lot of anxiety and uncertainty in the workforce. What can you do to help lessen the uncertainty and improve morale?
To help employees cope, it is important to explain to them why the merger occurred, what the thinking behind it was, what the purpose was, and what management hopes to achieve by doing it, says human resources specialist Ron Elsdon. Then, you need to explain what changes they can expect in terms of the organizational chart and in the operation of the company.
You also need to be attentive to their comments and concerns. You need to listen to what they have to say and try to address whatever concerns they have, Elsdon says. You might want to have a workshop or discussion forum to help employees communicate their concerns.
You also need to communicate with managers so that they have the support they need to deal with employee concerns. You want to make sure the managers are all delivering a consistent message.
All of the changes and plans should be given to the employees first before releasing any information to other audiences, such as the news media.
A survey also is a good way to gather information about employee sentiment on the merger and how well workers are cooperating with each other, says another human resources expert, Fraser Marlow. It also may alert you to any problem areas that might have developed.
The survey should center around two major areas – employee job satisfaction after the merger, and how they perceive their contribution to the viability of the new company, Marlow says.
The satisfaction questions would relate to how they feel about working in the new company compared to the old one, and whether they think there are better opportunities for them at the new company.
The question about the employees’ contribution centers around performance, whether or not the new company is helping or hindering worker performance and why.
Open ended questions, the kind that require an extended answer, are an excellent way to get feedback, but you need to make sure you have the time to read through all of the answers you get.
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