Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As)

How change management is essential during an M&A

Managing change during a Merger and Acquisition (M&A) can be incredibly stressful and go catastrophically wrong if senior leaders, or even staff alone, are not ready for the change.

Often, companies treat the change as a separate entity or stand-alone activity. This can have a devastating effect on how the collective workforce approaches, views or deals with a merger.

M&A’s need collaboration from all sides

Although change management has a hierarchical directive, collaboration and communication with senior leaders is key in its creation and implementation. By providing opportunity to feedback and contribute to change because of a recent M&A can create a more unified and embracing culture which will entice rather than scare employees through the overwhelming, often, daunting process.

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Communicate from the onset through all M&As

Change management only works effectively when processes and communication are enforced at the start of a significant change. During M&As, leaders face many challenges including cultural and stress management, redundancies, HR restructuring, resistance to change and job insecurities. As a result, change management implications need to be considered from the onset before negotiations are finalised.

Below is a collection of articles which focus on the good, the bad and the ugly of M&A’s; looking at what went wrong and what key leaders did, to successfully merge two iconic brands.  From the phenomenally successful merger of Disney and Pixar to the almost, disastrous merger of Yahoo and Facebook; check our favourite accounts of some well-known brands:

Offering a great synopsis; this site gives a collection of mergers which have succeeded or failed miserably when embarking on a company merger:

http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/blog/best-and-worst-corporate-mergers/

A great article listing some of the worst mergers that have happened in the last couple of years; including legendary Apple and LaLa, Facebook and Instagram:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/worst-tech-mergers-acquisitions-cisco-linksys-apple/

The following website provides thought-provoking video snippets of corporate mergers that have gone wrong:

https://www.phactual.com/9-corporate-mergers-gone-wrong/

An M&A is one of the largest changes companies can undergo and often, staff are susceptible to the greatest of disruptions. The key to success? Communication and collaboration from day one: giving you the power to excel through even the most trying times!

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At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how we can help with change management when going through an M&A, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Digital evolution: how to stay current

What digital evolution means for companies today

Technology has dramatically changed how people communicate, connect and perform personally as well as professionally.

From the introduction and evolution of social media channels, mobile apps, real-time platforms and intranet systems; companies are rapidly changing how they use, perform and operate in the digital hemisphere.

With an influx of real-time technology, customer and employee behaviour and expectations are becoming more demanding. Subsequently, resulting in bigger and bolder investments from companies into resources which can keep up with the increasing demands.

Industry experts believe this is an era ‘where technology and society are evolving faster than businesses can naturally adapt’. They advise that these changes are setting ‘the stage for a new era of leadership’; charging behind a mantra of ‘adapt or die.’

A digital maturity…

According to Capgemini’s 2012 report, companies who are steaming ahead of the digital evolution, have developed a digital maturity – a combination of digital investment and leadership capabilities to drive digital transformation in the workplace.

But how is this digital transformation affecting employee engagement and is there benefit to the change?

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The change in digital expectations has led to a more collaborative and open working environment. This affects how and what employees look for in a company.  As well as job stability and career prospects; employees are now searching for companies they feel comfortable, sharing information and ideas with. They want open and honest communication from senior leaders.

According to the Employee Confidence Index, companies who are using internal social media tools have effectively engaged 83.6% of their staff.  Social media platforms not only communicate an open and collaborative culture externally but have developed into ‘relationship networks’; helping companies to connect online to share information and ideas internally and externally.  Thus resulting in more engaged audiences!

Travelex, is one company who has embraced the digital transformation and has successfully transformed itself into a digital organisation. With over 8000 employees, the world’s largest specialist provider of foreign exchange wanted to migrate the company’s communication platforms into the social realms of technology.

Invest and thrive through digital evolution

Recognising the shift in behavioural demands, Travelex introduced a social media strategy which would meet and exceed expectations.  Equally important as the objectives was the investment needed to successfully execute and deliver the strategy internally and externally. Sabrina Rodriguez, Global Head of Social Media for Travelex advised:

Social is not free, this is a myth. It is absolutely a paid channel and needs investment, a robust strategy, management, infrastructure and a sufficient operating model.

Without investment from the business, and by relying purely on organic growth, communities can take years, not months, to grow. That’s an expectation that we absolutely need to set.

Digital transformation has radically changed how we communicate, listen and respond to internal and external audiences. When done effectively and collaboratively it improves, strengthens and empowers overall engagement.  A communication transformation!  What does digital evolution mean for you, your employees and your customers?

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on developing digital and social strategies, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

 

Creating a successful employee value proposition (EVP)

What is an Employee Value Proposition?

An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is an employment proposal which outlines what an employer expects from its employees and what it provides its employees in return.  Generally, it is the key tool to engage, attract and retain quality talent.

Similarly, to a Customer Value Proposition (CVP) which focuses on why customers should buy into a product or service, an EVP concentrates on why a candidate should choose to work, stay and engage within a company.

It is the unique value which a company can bring not only to its future but also its existing employees.

According to Richard Veal, Head of Towers Watson’s Reward, Talent and Communication Consulting, UK practice:

“Unfortunately, to many organisations the EVP remains a hidden gem that is unshaped, overlooked or not utilised to its fullest extent. Our latest research provides important insights into what makes the best companies – those with highly effective EVPs – different.”

The impact of an effective employee value proposition

Effective EVP’s encompass strategy, communication and engagement.  This can help attract new employees and align personal goals and values with the company’s goals and values (aiding in employee retention).

To develop a strong EVP that is effective and communicates the overall strategy of the company it is imperative to collate and digest current feedback.  Fundamentally, this should focus on how internal and external audiences perceive the company’s brand and culture.

Find out why employees were attracted to your company, why they have stayed and the unique offerings that competitors have failed to offer. It is also important to assess why employees have left or why candidates have turned down a role. A company can achieve a 360° review of its proposition in a variety of ways. These can include employee surveys, focus groups and external surveys targeted at former employees and job applicants; providing more qualitative and quantitative data.

By establishing current and previous feedback, this will help create a more effective and targeted EVP; strengthening the overall company brand and solidifying industry positions.

Strengthen your company with a purpose-led EVP today!

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on creating a more wholesome and strategically focused EVP, call or email us today.  Let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Guest blog: Emotional intelligence – the organisation is like a brain, not a structure

Emotional intelligence

Does your internal communications department struggle for resources, influence and internal clout? Recent findings in cognitive psychology and employee engagement have indicated that better engagement and positive emotional intelligence is key to a successful organisation.

Avoiding viewing companies as ‘structures’ with people as ‘resources’ is essential in the same way as communicating with employees is central to improving business performance. In essence, results depend on getting the right alignment of strategy, skills and emotional commitment; none of which is possible without clear and effective communication.

People are emotional: defining emotional intelligence

The Righteous Mind | Jonathan Haidt | Engage for Success | correlation between higher engagement and higher performance | ClearVoice

Over the past fifty years, cognitive psychology research has connected human behaviour and decision-making with the emotional state of mind. Equally, this has been identified through highly educated professionals such as data analysts and research scientists.

Consequently, all people are emotional!  Confirmation bias, is a common tendency to filter out evidence that clashes with emotionally preferred narratives. Some people are better than others at recognising and challenging their own biases, but are all prone to creating them. In an interview, leading academic Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, says: ‘…emotional reactions tend to drive the reasoning reactions, and I think most of the neuroscience literature is consistent with that.’

Research indicated a positive correlation between an employee’s personal drive and an increase in performance levels; creating a strong emotional dimension within the workplace. As the UK’s Engage for Success concludes: ‘We now have a substantial body of evidence showing the correlation between higher engagement and higher performance.’

Communication is vital

Organisations who enhance and encourage emotional intelligence promote a more engaged and collaborative workforce. By identifying company structures as organic representations of a brain, business leaders can better understand how to treat their workforces.

‘If we rethink our understanding of the dynamic, organic reality of the organisation, we realise it’s more like a brain than a structure, in which case it becomes obvious that the connecting neural networks need to be active and healthy.’

Philip Whiteley is an author and journalist specialising in workplace culture and the link to organisation performance.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

Many thanks to Philip, Author & Journalist, for his time and insight into emotional intelligence. At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how to drive emotional engagement as part of your employee communications strategy, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Guest blog: Speak with one voice

Internal and external communication as one

In a healthy organisation, the internal and external communications functions are close; it is a matter of basic coherence and integrity that strategic narratives to both audiences are broadly the same. The challenge is that in some organisations the internal communications function can lack status; whereas that of the external communications can prompt cynicism. For an organisation’s success it is vital that both speak with one voice.

There are matters of commercial confidentiality, but the organisation should express the same values. There should be clarity about who the company is, what it stands for, and what it’s doing, in the broader narratives. If different stories start to emerge externally, compared with practices and messages internally, this is a warning sign; an indicator of a disconnect between strategic planning and operational reality. Bringing internal and external communications together as part of strategy-setting, scenario planning and operations ensures that plans fulfil their potential.

The importance of honest and open communication

In an organisation with integrity, the marketing, personnel, research, production and senior executive departments are speaking consistently. They communicate with each other, around a shared objective of understanding the customer journey, and how well the company serves its customers when interacting with them.

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Honest and open communication is encouraged, and in both directions; such organisations treat an honest and reasonable complaint, from a customer or an employee, as a learning opportunity; as a chance to improve that customer journey and the employee’s experience.

You can test the honesty of your communications with surveys and with data. Your perception may be that you put the customer first, but have satisfaction ratings dipped in the past six months? If so, do you know why? What do your employees say about your organisation? Have your employee engagement levels dropped? And how has this affected your organisation’s performance?

How is feedback providing an opportunity?

Senior leaders, marketing, internal communications and HR should be inviting and actively seeking feedback from customers and employees at regular intervals. Annual surveys provide a broad insight into engagement and overall satisfaction; augment this with regular pulse surveys, focus groups, morning tea breaks or huddles.

Listening to feedback is the first step, acting upon it the second and arguably the more important step. Each feedback providing an opportunity to encourage interaction, engage in honest conversation and bring internal and external communication closer together by sharing success stories, acknowledging ideas for improvement, and celebrating progress.

The challenges of improving performance, boosting employee engagement, and bringing the internal and external communications together, are all closely linked activities. They are not separate departments, but distinct disciplines that form part of a collective endeavour to improve the experience for the customer and the employee with your organisation now and into the future.

Philip Whiteley is an author and journalist specialising in workplace culture and the link to organisation performance.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how to use feedback from customer satisfaction and employee engagement surveys to improve your organisation’s performance, call or email us today and let us show you how communication can boost your organisation.

How to recruit a Millennial

What is a Millennial?

The term ‘Millennial’ has taken over our social media channels, websites, intranet systems, even favoured online publications; but what are they and how can you get one?

Firstly, Millennials are people not a product!  The term ‘Millennial’ represents those born in the late 1970’s to the mid 1990’s.  Also coined as ‘Generation Y’ or the ‘Echo Boomers’ (offspring of the 50’s baby boomers); Millennials are employees who were ‘coming of age’ at the start of the new millennium.

Millennials are representing a generation which is incredibly sophisticated, technology savvy and often ‘immune’ to traditional sales and marketing pitches. They’ve seen it and been exposed to it all since early childhood.

Love it or hate it?

However, the term is slowly becoming intolerable, if not over used and has unfortunately, affected how companies recruit and expand. Suddenly, we are hearing that companies are reluctant to hire this generation; even if they have over 10 years of experience to bring to the table.

And the reason? The term has become Marmite: love it or hate it and no in-between!

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The term ‘Millennials’ has shifted from representing an age category; instead becoming a favoured term for debate; with audiences wanting to understand, analyse and dissect the term as if they are a separate species! If you are looking to recruit a millennial then your objective is off-centre.  Instead, assess what kind of candidate you need; the role you are advertising and the team you are trying to develop.  Use the recruitment process to improve your overall employer brand and not to compartmentalise an age group.

Millennials are people too: recruit as an individual and not as a term!

Quick guide to Millennial recruitment

With the right attitude and key objectives, we have developed a quick guide on what to do when recruiting a candidate:

Avoid assumptions and stereotypes: Often, Millennials are perceived to populate a small proportion of workforces when the reality is the opposite. It is projected to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 and numbers will peak in 2036 at 81.1 million. Having a collective age range in the workplace encourages a more collaborative environment. Understand their skill sets and critical approach to brand loyalty, embrace their racial and ethnic diversity and evaluate how this can contribute to the company in its entirety.

Update, train and guide your managers: Whether it is for Generation X, Y or Z effective management will result in a more productive and receptive team. Provide regular training and continuous support to managers in helping them lead and manage teams which are diverse. Offer them guidance in acknowledging and utilising an individual’s strengths and motivations no matter what their age range.

Research and behavioural analysis: Unfortunately, a multitude of tools have emerged helping applicants to develop their CV’s which increase online visibility. Often these CV’s are a by-product of these tools rather than a true reflection of the candidate.

Use pre-employment interviews to encourage a more accurate overview of your applicant, helping to identify key motivators and strengths, customer service orientation and skill sets. This will also help develop your recruitment and selection process as well as any subsequent training packages.

Communicate your company’s culture: When developing your employer brand think about the environment your candidates will be working in. Your company culture should accommodate a multitude of ages and not be aimed at one selective group. A shift in engagement has encouraged companies to embrace a more collaborative and open environment. The recruitment process can help you assess how people view your company externally and how you are positioned against your competitors.

An attractive company makes for a more appealing employer

Millennial facts

And just for fun…here is a collection of ‘Millennial facts’ showing how age can be immersive instead of a hindrance:

  • 45 percent believe a decent paying job is a “privilege”, not a “right.”
  • 64 percent of Millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.
  • 88 percent prefer a collaborative work culture rather than a competitive one.
  • 74 percent want flexible work schedules.
  • 80 percent of Gen-Y say they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews; they feel that this is imperative for their growth and understanding of a job.
  • 70 percent have “Friended” their managers and/or colleagues on Facebook.
  • 71 percent don’t always obey social-media policies at work.
  • Millennials are connected to an average of 16 co-workers on Facebook.
  • 69 percent believe office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis.
  • 35 percent of employed Millennials have started their own business on the side to supplement their income.
  • 84 percent say that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition.
  • 41 percent of Millennials have no landline at home and rely on their mobile phones for communication.
  • Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how we can help with recruitment, on-boarding and retention of employees and Millennials, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

 

 

Internal versus External Communications: The Relationship

Internal versus external communications: making a stand!

Internal versus external communications is a staple topic.  Historically, they have targeted very different audiences; communicating with those who work inside the organisation and communicating with those who do not.  However, the audience focus for internal and external communications is now migrating to a more targeted reach and instead; companies are embracing ‘all’ audiences instead of a targeted selection.

From investors to shareholders, employees to the general public, communication has evolved into a hub of ‘share and display’. Consequently, as companies demonstrate value recognition, the divide between internal versus external communication starts to merge.

Companies that have merged internal and external communications

Companies, including HSBC and Royal Mail, have avoided compartmentalising communications into internal and external by introducing channels that are accessible by  all audiences.  As a result, both companies have increased engagement and strengthened trust in their overall brands.  With over 250,000 employees located across 71 countries; HSBC, has launched a weekly TV programme that aimed to unite and screen their employees inside and outside the business.

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According to the Event and Visual Communication Association, a 15% engagement increase was recorded internally as a result of the new channel entitled ‘HSBC Now’; embracing the open culture of their workforce.

Royal Mail created an online platform aptly named myroyal.com giving public accessibility to internal news and recent accreditations, awards, shares, employee feedback and even, an online uniform brochure!  Subsequently, Royal Mail’s latest online channel led to better engagement with their employees as well as their customers.

The dynamics of internal versus external communication

Below are three fundamental tips for creating a unifying relationship between internal and external communication:

1. Communicate & explain: Create an understanding of team responsibility from the onset and this can help to reduce negative impact on departments who are divided.  Schedule workshops or regular meetings with key teams, which aim to inform, listen and deliver key campaigns in the pipeline.

2. Liaise & feedback:  For a crossover of internal and external communication to be successful, implementation of key messages must be shared across the channels.

3. Share & implement: One of the biggest downfalls for organisations who don’t communicate their internal or external comms strategy, is their inability to communicate, share and implement the campaign internally as well as externally.  For employees to actively engage and promote the company message they need to understand, participate and engage in the campaign.

Brief, share, reiterate what you are doing, why you are doing it and how it affects the whole company.

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At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how to step away from internal versus external communications, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.