- Transferred 300 people into an organisation of 400 employees and supported the management team in getting them working together. Changed bonus arrangements so both had the same and it fitted the Group structure.
Challenge / objectives –
- The TUPE itself was complex due to geography – incoming and existing people were on a number of sites around the UK. This made consultation more difficult and also meant we would want to merge/close sites following the transfer.
- The existing employees were mainly pensions administrators, actuaries etc., most of whom were cautious, detail focused, accurate, reserved; the incoming employees were selling and providing a flexible benefits platform, so many were extrovert, rule-breakers, innovative. Merging the two cultures was a very big challenge.
- The Group wanted bonus arrangements changed so they all had the same and so the structure was in line with Group bonus guidelines. The incoming employees were used to large sales commissions and whole company bonus; the existing people had a small Christmas bonus as well as the Group’s bonus.
Work carried out –
- The TUPE itself: due diligence before transfer; consultation; measures letter; welcome letters; gathering data to input to HR system; and change to Group benefits providers.
- Culture change – supported the management team to do: roadshows; awaydays; social events; organisation design to put like teams together; training for transferred people in new systems and processes
- Restructure – working with the management team to plan; consulting on new roles, site moves and redundancies. Designing selection matrices and providing the necessary paperwork, redundancy calculations etc.
- Consultation and change to new bonus structure.
- It took more than a year to understand how the two organisations could work together and to do the restructure. It also took a long time for those transferring in to understand the new company’s processes, because they were so different. The people transferring in were used to being a company of 320 people and they had joined a company of around 35,000 employees, so processes were necessarily more rigid. Also, it was inevitable that some people would not want to be part of such a large organisation and would leave; the number of leavers was smaller than expected though, so the impact was minimal.
- I think we underestimated the difficulty of merging the two cultures. This was made more difficult because the MD of the existing organisation retired as we did the transfer and the MD of the incoming company became MD of the whole; he was resistant to the large company culture and found it very difficult to understand the culture of the pensions people. After some time when it was realised that he was not going to be able to change, a new MD was brought in and it became easier. The mechanisms we used worked well for getting people to know each other and to understand what each other did, but it took a long time before they really gelled.
- We changed both, so that the new bonus had separate elements for the performance of Group, Company, teams and individuals. We kept an element of sales commission, but only for true sales people and less money than they had been used to. This involved a lot of detailed consultation and, by setting targets carefully in the implementation year, the new scheme was accepted.