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Prepare your recommendations for how to move forward - This would include the roles .

the HR Practitioner would be expected to play in this merger and the functions of Human Resources that would be of greatest impact/ concern.

Before Doug can proceed, he needs to first determine the strategic intent of the company. He needs to understand the goals of senior management and position himself for any cultural and personal issues of the merger. In doing so he will be able to determine whether the company expects to see financial gains through a combination of the functions and eliminating duplicate positions. He therefore needs to meet with the key decision makers to chart the strategic direction of the new company and align it with his human resource strategy. Human Resource Departments are evolving from playing a merely administrative role to becoming "strategic partners" responsible for contributing to the achievement of business objectives. Since the personnel department has been accused of concentrating solely on the administrative function, Doug need to ensure that this evolution encompasses new ways of defining and assessing HR success be developed. Traditional operational measures of internal efficiency are not sufficient. The human resource department must now be able to demonstrate the value of its strategic contributions. Secondly, after Doug has met with the key decision makers he, now, as the new HR practitioner, needs to go through discovery phase where he will play the role of the employee advocate. He will have to visit, listen and learn about each employee from both companies. He must understand that they are people who may be nervous and perhaps a little intimidated; they may also be worried about their jobs even though they might have been told that nothing will change. So as the employee advocate Doug will have to be as open and has honest as possible and treat each employee with respect. He must be careful not to act superior to the employees and he needs to be extra sensitive with the choice of words as he may come across as being pushy or a know it all. This may lead to resentment. Recognizing the value of committed, motivated employees, HR must play the critical role of employee advocate. The HR department must be the employees' voice in management discussions and should initiate actions that address employees' issues and concerns. Not only that but The role of administrative excellence is important because it is an immediate way of contributing to the overall efficiency of the organization and it helps to build the credibility that HR needs to assume other influential roles. Therefore Doug must ensure that an efficient and effective system is developed. The role of HR is therefore to identify the key human assets, set up retention arrangements to keep critical talent, create development plans for people to prepare them to achieve the anticipated corporate growth. Attention also needs to be paid to reward and recognition programs, team development and integration of benefit and compensation programs ensuring that they are competitive to attract and retain desirable employees. Since the company is going through a merger, these systems will play an important role in shaping the new organization and maintaining employee confidence. Finally, Doug responsibility will also see him adopting the role of an agent of change. HR professionals must help determine how the company's current culture, competencies, and structure must change in order to support the organization's strategy. At the same time, the HR

department should play a key role in implementing and managing these changes, assessing potential sources of resistance to change, and collaborating with line managers to overcome these barriers. The functions of HRM that would be of greatest impact would be those of selection and compensation and benefits. When a merger takes place usually there is often the loss of jobs which results in the merging of job functions. As a result the HR practitioner needs to forecast the labour demand and supply of the company. Tough the company will most likely cut jobs of those individuals; there are those employees who will leave off their own. It is therefore the responsibility of HR to forecast these happenings and plan for the overages as well as shortages. Staffing the new organization with the right people requires systematically determining the roles needed and identifying the people who are best able to fill them. Valuable people, central to the success of the integration, may be lost because staffing decisions are made without a plan, without any thought to an equitable process of assessment, and without taking the future needs of the business into account. It is therefore important to do an assessment of the key players in both merging organizations using consistent criteria and thus getting more buy-in to the outcomes and avoiding the appearance of favoritism. A retention plan must be in place as it will identify the critical people who have critical skills, knowledge, and abilities that are going to be primary drivers for the organization On the compensation and benefit aspect, the HR Practitioner must determine the compensation comparisons between both companies. Employees might have been compensated differently by the two companies and these differences must be quickly reconciled. There are people who will be unhappy about the comparisons, since similar positions may be earning different pay structure. Doug needs to develop and deliver clear compensation guidelines, implement a new benefits structure and try not to lose the employees around these types of circumstances. It is up to HR to decide whether to maintain the salaries and benefits of one or the other of the organizations or to develop an entirely new approach. This is an area in which there needs to be a tremendous amount of one-on-one activity between HR and the functional managers.

Human Resources Involvement in the Merger Process

The following chart shows the number of companies that engage human resource professionals and hold them at a high level of involvement across the various stages of a merger and acquisition are surprisingly low.

The good news is that the business world is finally beginning to recognize the dynamics that lead to failure and are coming to understand the role of HRM in resolving "people issues."

What barriers do you foresee that HR will face, both internal and external?

HR may encounter several barriers during a merger process both internal and external. When a merger takes place one needs to understand the culture of the organization as well as the employees. The culture refers to the shared values, beliefs and preferred ways to behave. Both companies will have its own distinct culture and integrating them may prove challenging to HR. When a company with one style takes over a company with another style, that is indeed a difference and it is a huge difference. Some people feel comfortable in the one setting and some do not. The clash of two cultures can be so detrimental that you lose key people. People from other cultures may have a different set of values, they may believe different things, they may or may not embrace teamwork, they may have a longer vision of short-term and long-term paybacks, and they may feel differently about authority and delegation. All of these things make a huge difference. A company cannot simply take over and presume that the employees are going to agree with the way the organization is structured and how things are run. Research has found that dissimilar cultures can produce feeling of hostility and significant discomfort which can lower the commitment and cooperation on the part of the employees. It is therefore important the HR access the culture of the organization and by understanding the similarities and differences between both organizations it may be possible to avoid any conflict. A second internal barrier that HR may encounter would be lack of communication. The communication should provide precise information to the employees, providing any piece of information which is unreal can lead to rumors and counteract. The communication should be sufficient enough to answer the queries and worries of the employees. The first set of information should be related to their future jobs, this will help to lessen their worries related to job security. People resist mergers, acquisitions, and especially takeovers at a personal level. The reason why they resist at a personal level is because they have not been told why things must change or how they are going to change. As people look inwards to find their place in the merged company they attempt to see a future in or outside of it. People will be fearful about their jobs, causing them to focus on themselves (rather than on their customers) often doing the minimum to get by at work. If jobs are to be cut it is still far better to be upfront about the situation. If people know who may be made redundant and when the decision will be taken they can get on with the job in hand rather than focusing on the latest gossip. As with any change, the sooner people can get clarity on what will change and what will remain the same the sooner they can move on and focus their energy on delivering results. Doug needs to also get the executives to meet with the employees especially those from Unique Connections so that they may get an understanding of the merger and where they stand. Another internal barrier that may be faced is that of a loss of key people. Good people, key people, tend to leave organizations at this particular point in time. Many people are afraid of losing their jobs. It is a well-known fact in the business world that mergers usually cause staff reductions. People who are talented the exact kind of people whom that the company may want

to retain in the organization are exactly the kind of people who are going to put their resumes out and probably go to the competitor. This may be a tremendous loss for an organization. A final barrier that HR may encounter is that of resistance. Employee resistance is probably the single most difficult issue to deal with during mergers. Lack of information about change and the failure of people to understand the need for change can be viewed together. If HR as well as company leaders are not communicating what is going on then someone less informed will be communicating messages and rumors that will only have to be unraveled later when the damage will have already been done. As with any change, there is necessarily a period of transition when people are unsure about what will change and what will not and people find themselves straddling two ways of working the old and the new. As mentioned above persons are primarily concerned about themselves, once they are given word that there may be a merger, they will immediately believe that they will lose their jobs, they are going to be transferred, they are going to have to move, or they are not going to be working for the same boss anymore. These are the things that make people want to bolt from an organization. This may lead to resistance so they need to be informed as to what is happening with the company. The challenge is to keep employees engaged, motivated and productive while the complications involved in the merger are being resolved. In any merger, employees at all levels must understand the impact of the merger on two fronts: themselves and the organization. Personally, they need to know: (a) whether they have a job, (b) if so, whether their pay and benefits will change, (c) whom they will report to and (d) whether they will need to relocate. Organizationally, they need to know: (a) whats changing in the way they do the work, (b) what will stay the same, (c) what they will do differently, if anything, and (d) how they will do the work differently. The vehicle to achieve this is a well-planned and flawlessly executed communication strategy that addresses all the changes on a consistent and ongoing basis. Externally the company may be faced with are legal and political issues. Various government regulations prohibiting discrimination in hiring and employment have direct impact on recruitment practices. Also, trade unions play important role in recruitment. This restricts management freedom to select those individuals who it believes would be the best performers. If the candidate cant meet criteria stipulated by the union but union regulations can restrict recruitment sources

What role will HR Planning play?


Before senior managers of Tronics telecommunications decided to undertake a merger, decisions would have been made about the strategic direction of the company. They would have done a SWOT analysis to determine the companys reason for wanting a merger and what it hopes to achieve in the medium to long term future, external opportunities and threats; technological advances, customers markets, potential labour shortages, competitors pending legislations, and its internal strength and weaknesses; financial, capital, human and technological. HR planning would therefore be responsible for aligning the new HR roles to that of the new organizational strategies. This would involve formulating and implementing strategies that would assist in achieving the goals of the company. Doug needs to ensure that the right kinds of people are retained for the new merged company. This would include forecasting the labour supply and demand of the human resources, making plans for the impending, shortages and overages, setting benchmarks for achieving the companys goals as well as implementing programs for these to be achieved. In forecasting the labour demands and supply during the merger HR planning needs to ascertain the type of people that are needed to propel the company forward and achieves it goals. This involves looking at the strategic plan of the organization as well as looking at positions within both companies to see which ones will be merged, which will stay the same, which ones will be made redundant and if there is the need to create new positions. Retention of key people as mentioned earlier is of great importance; however it is important to note that some talent may be needed only during the transition period, after which their responsibilities can be handed off. Others may be needed for much longer. So Doug may also have to even outsource labour. Anything that would ensure that labour supply meets labour demand needs to be applied. This will help in the achieving of the goals that would have been set during the strategic HR planning process. As programs would have already been in place deal with any human resource issues that might arise. In order for the merger to be a success all the necessary steps must be so that there are no hitches which would result loss of production.

The final step in the HR planning involves the development of strategies to address future gaps and surpluses. Strategies include the programs, policies, and practices that assist HR in recruiting, developing, and retaining the critical staff needed to achieve organizational goals. A wide range of strategies may be designed for retaining, attracting and or developing staff with needed skills and dealing with workers or skills no longer needed in the newly merged organization. Once the company identifies a workforce gap, it needs to develop and implement effective strategies to fill the gap. Such strategies include outreach recruitment, contract worker attainment, staff training, and succession planning. Critical gaps should be analyzed with care to ensure that timely action is taken before these gaps become a problem for the organization.

HR Planning during the merger will undertake the following:

What transformations will Personnel undergo to prove their seat at the strategic table (mention the new roles of Human Resources)? Will the human resources department be able to use Dougs sales experience to its competitive advantage as strategic partner?

In order to prove their seat at the strategic table, Personnel must go through several transformation since the companys personnel department have been criticized in the past for concentrating solely of administrative functions and being reactive and slow to manage any change process. Therefore to prove their worth Personnel must become more strategic in carrying out the HR functions. Therefore HR must move away from playing administrative role to that of a strategic partner. Being a strategic partner calls for an ongoing evaluation of the alignment between current HR practices and the business objectives of the company, and a continuing effort to design policies and practices that maximize this alignment. HR/personnel professionals must help determine how the company's current culture, competencies, and structure must change in order to support the organization's strategy. At the same time, the HR department should play a key role in implementing and managing these changes, assessing potential sources of resistance to change, and collaborating with line managers to overcome these barriers. The tactical HR representative should be knowledgeable about the design of work systems in which people succeed and contribute. This strategic partnership impacts HR services such as the design of work positions; hiring; reward, recognition and strategic pay; performance development and appraisal systems; career and succession planning; and employee development. Secondly, Personnel must play the role of employee advocate. In carrying out this function Personnel knows the interests of the employees and the plans of the organization and help to find the suitable solution for them where the employee may be satisfied while carrying out the objectives of the company. This role also includes expertise in how to create a work environment in which people will choose to be motivated, contributing, and happy. However, just being an effective employee advocate is not sufficient. Instead, the HR professionals must be strategic contributors, partners with operating managers, administratively efficient, and cost effective.

Personnel also need to develop a faster response mechanism. Doug as , the HR professional needs to respond faster to the people in his company and needs to apply newer concepts and technologies to achieve this. HR should be more proactive rather than reactive in its relationships with all functional areas within the organization. It is more concerned about what its internal customers need in the future to compete globally. Strategic HR managers do not wait for instructions, requisition or complaints. It does its homework, does research on the future, and offers proactive solutions and strategic advice. This is especially important since Personnel is has already been criticized. The Human resources will be able to use Dougs experience in sales quite effectively. As the Marketing and Sales Manager, Doug would have been responsible for establishing, maintaining relationships with employees and customers, responsible for establishing and developing distribution networks for the companys product lines as well as initiate market research studies or surveys and is responsible for analyzing and advising toward new and better products, packaging and delivery of products. Doug would be able to incorporate is past knowledge with his new role of HR practitioner in the following ways: He already knows what the market is like and the needs of the people within them. He already knows the competitors as well as how they operate. As the HRP, Doug will be able to incorporate is past knowledge in hiring the right kinds of people to achieve the goals of the organization. As the Marketing manager he would have already known how to provide motivation for his staff, this will be of great importance to him as the new HRP since it deals solely with the management of people with different personalities. In his role of change expert he must be able to spot trends and act on them first, stay up-to-date with news, research, and any other information that directly affects the product or service delivered by the staff similar to what he previously did.