The company has been for sale for over a year, because the parent company realized that they moved into a type of business that could have been a great money maker, when the economy was good. Now that the economy had taken a turn for the worse, this part of the company has been targeted to be sold.
The company has terminated the Director who had grown the business by leaps and bounds, and moved a lower level manager from the call center to manage the process of sun-setting this part of the company.
Acquisitions include many unknowns for employees. There is an uneasy air when going about daily operations. The feeling is that the doors maybe locked when you show up for work the next day. The lower level manager who has been put in charge is doing a dismal job of keeping it together and has inflamed the situation. Let’s call him Juan, he has selected people for elimination but has not let anyone in on his plan. He has made comments in meetings that things are running smoothly with the exception of two areas and one of the areas he is talking about is yours. Now what? These two supervisors have been selected as those who will be let go next. There are no more issues in these departments than any other but Juan has made it look like you are not doing your job . He has called you into his office and told you that you have two weeks to turn your team around or you will be fired! Wow! Where did that come from? Erratic behavior and unreasonable demands. What are your options as a supervisor in this company?
– Go to Human Resources (HR) review the erratic managers behavior (if they will listen)
– Go to the Employee Assistance Program (E.A.P.) and ask for their advise as to how to handle this situation.
– Go to the corporate level and review the treatment the two supervisors are getting from this manager.
– Go back to the manager and tell him nicely that he is being unreasonable and displaying erratic behavior. Ask him if there is something you can help him with
The Pro’s of doing one of these four things is that you will clear the air and feel better about what is going on. You may get resolution from HR or the corporate level. The E.A.P. may be able to direct you to the correct people to resolve some of the issues and correct the problem. Confronting Juan could just make the situation worse than it is, because if he has a big of ego he will take what you say as an attack on his authority.
The Con’s of doing these four things is that HR would be unwilling to help you, EAP would not know where to direct you, the corporate level people know that Juan is a very poor manager and they do not care. He was only put in place to keep things running and start downsizing. They just needed a jerk in the manager’s spot in order to handle the unpleasant duty of laying-off and firing people. If you go directly to Juan, he may fire you sooner and you will have sealed your fate.
Acquisitions are never easy on the employees. In many cases the redundant positions are the first to be eliminated. From an ethical point of view it would be better for a company to level with the managers and supervisors, letting them know a tentative plan. Also, that jobs will be eliminated and that theirs would be impacted at some point as well. This way the supervisors can determine for themselves if they will stay till the end or not. In some cases companies will give a timeline to management and let them know that if they stay they will be given some type of bonus.
If you are on the short end of an acquisition it would be good to ask some direct questions of the leaders of your company, such as:
– What is the timeframe to transition all of the business
– How does this impact the employees
– How will the process be handled, will there be transitioning of employees from one company to the other
– Where will this leave the management team
– Will there be compensation provided to those who stay until the end
– Will there be lay-offs of employees in between the time of full transition
Never should a company allow a poor transition in times of an acquisitions. That type of transition will leave a bad taste in the mouths of all the employees, those being moved over and those working at the new parent company. Most companies do not want bad press and managers like Juan could cause this by his miss-treatment of managers and employees.
Companies need to treat acquisitions the same as they would any other part of their business and place focus on what is going on with this part of the business. Never leave a Juan in charge when the acquisition stability matters. Companies want to transition in an orderly manner and do not want all the employees to get up and walk out because of poor management during the process.
It is always a good idea to get a firm that specializes in mergers & acquisitions, they can ease the company through the process in a civilized manner. In Tampa, Washington Partners, Inc. is one company that specializes in mergers & acquisitions.