Case Study – Facilitation and Collaboration
Facilitate Employee Focus Groups
Employees of an acquired company were nervous about
the upcoming acquisition and conversion.
They had many questions about the new company’s direction, policies, and
procedures. Employees of the acquiring company were also concerned about
changes in the company.
I facilitated eight sessions with employees of the both the
acquired and the acquiring company to gather their questions and concerns and
communicate what information was known.
Focus on employee
During these employee focus sessions, we listened closely to
all employees’ concerns. While many were
concerned with whether they would have a job after the acquisition, many others
were concerned with how they would perform their jobs after the conversion.
They were concerned with how they would get information, what procedures would
be used and how the conversion would affect their customers.
In many cases, they knew of customers that were handled outside
of normal channels and wondered how these customers would be impacted. In these
cases, we asked them to document specific customer cases and their
recommendations so they could be analyzed.
During these sessions we quickly communicated what
information we did know, so that employees were kept informed and inaccurate
information and rumors were kept to a minimum.
We acknowledged, however, that some decisions hadn’t been
made and some information wasn’t known, especially around employee retention.
This let employees know that we weren’t holding back valued information.
Analyze and Organize
The questions and suggestions were taken out of these focus
groups and organized into common subjects. The information was analyzed for
customer and employee impact and sent to subject matter experts for further
Rely on Subject Matter Experts, but Gather Employee Input on Impact
The subject matter experts in each department were asked to
analyze the questions and suggestions and come up with recommended courses of
action or specific procedures. In most cases, the existing procedure was fine
or needed just minor changes to reflect new systems.
Where specific customers were impacted, we asked the original
employees to review the recommendations to determine if the customer impact was
Where suggestions were made, we asked the subject matter
experts to evaluate them and determine if a better process was being suggested.
In this way, a series of best practices was developed using processes and
procedures from both companies.
Communicate Thoroughly and Frequently
While employees appreciated that we empathized with them and
valued their input, it was essential that we communicate the final processes
and procedures to them quickly and efficiently. We needed to answer their
original questions to alleviate their fears. Updated procedures and processes
were communicated through a series of conversion newsletters and a conversion
Provide Feedback to Management
It was important to provide regular status reports to
management on major subjects and issues. This was particularly important on
issues that were undecided (such as personnel issues). These issues caused
employees the greatest fear and the sooner they were identified to management
and resolved, the sooner employees would feel more comfortable. Even if final
decisions could not be made, communicating regular status reports to employees
was important (if some decisions have been made, announce them; where analysis
was still being performed, let employees know that).
Employees were more comfortable with the acquisition and
conversion process. They were able to
make better decisions about conversion issues knowing what the future would
hold. Employees of the acquired company had more confidence that their new
company cared about them and valued their input.
For more information on how
Technology Leverage can help you with analysis and strategic planning, contact
Rick Sutton at 610-914-3631 or Rick.Sutton@TechnologyLeverage.com