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How to Combine Relocation Policies after a Merger

When two companies merge, human resources is immediately tasked with ensuring that there is one benefit plan for all employees. In many cases, employees will just inherit the benefit plans from the acquiring company.  When it comes to relocation, however, this can be tricky as transferees can be in process while the ink is still drying on the acquisition deal.

Further, strategic HR managers may want to take this time of change to re-evaluate all benefits, including relocation, to ensure that policies are covering the needs of the expanded employee base. After appointing the appropriate individual to lead this initiative, you are ready to move forward. Here are some steps for reviewing and consolidating relocation policies in the wake of a merger:

  • Compare and contrast. Take time to review the policies from both companies in order to understand the similarities and differences. It’s also a good idea to compare each policy to best practices to ensure that they are adequate and competitive.
  • Develop a new policy. Strategic human resources professionals and relocation program managers should identify the gaps between current policy and best practices and then develop a new program for all employees.
  • Propose the policy to stakeholders. Once you have a new policy, it’s time to work towards approval. You will need to take it to relocation managers and any other stakeholder so that they can review the program and provide any tweaks as needed based on their knowledge of the employee base they manage. For example, we had a case where the lower level tier in the policy was so rich that the operating managers would not have had the budget to cover the cost. We had to modify this part to fit more closely with employee type and operations budget.
  • Finalize the policy. Once you have gathered all the feedback you need, finalize the policies and decide on a clean start date so that in-process transferees can complete their moves before the changes occur.
  • Update technology systems. Be sure to streamline any technology systems you are using to initiative and track your program. The work flow should match the new policy and any other policies within the system should be removed in order to avoid confusion.

While the steps for consolidating policies are quite clear, the actual implementation can be more challenging. You should anticipate some resistance to change. Getting everyone to the table with an open mind is difficult in the best situations, but with a merger emotions run high. Be patient and encourage collaboration. Further, have some empathy for groups that will be moving to a less rich policy. Transferees may feel short changed and managers may have a much more difficult sell to get employees on board. It’s important to be supportive and ready to address concerns as they come up.

Have you been through a merger or acquisition? Please share some tips below.

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