Corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions affect employees, customers, suppliers and vendors. Rather than leaving everyone to wonder how the reorganization will affect their relationship with the company, it’s wise to develop communication strategies that address employee concerns as well as questions from customers, suppliers and vendors. Separate communications may be appropriate for different audiences based on the type of reorganization your company plans to undergo.
Draft an explanation of what a corporate reorganization is and the kind of corporation reorganization that applies to your company. Visual descriptions are especially helpful for employee presentations -- they help employees see exactly how the reorganization affects their departments and work groups. If you don't have the in-house resources to produce a graphic illustration of the reorganization, engage the services of an artist who specializes in corporate communications to work with you on constructing a multimedia presentation.
Prepare your first employee communication by enlisting the organization’s top executives to deliver the news. Top-down communication is critical in matters that will directly affect employees’ jobs. Plan to deliver subsequent presentations if the corporation reorganization involves a series of steps about which employees must be informed.
Rehearse the presentation, including answers to questions employees might have. Construct a list of anticipated questions from employees. Be prepared to provide full, complete responses without hesitation. Deliver the presentation during an all-employee meeting. Provide as much information as possible about the reorganization to prevent speculation and water-cooler conversations. Encourage employees to ask questions -- be as transparent as you can in all your communications with employees.
Designate human resources staff to be responsible for employee questions about benefits, transfers, details about layoffs and provisions for unemployment, if some employees will lose their jobs as a result of the reorganization. Create a list containing the names of human resources staff and the types of questions each one can answer. Distribute the list to employees.
Tell human resources staff members to keep track of employee questions. If employees ask certain questions repeatedly, they are usually about topics that should be addressed during subsequent employee presentations and meetings.
Explain changes in corporate leadership and how the changes will affect processes. Involve operations executives more familiar with operations to provide details about departmental processes. If the changes result from a merger or acquisition, give employees a view of the other company involved. Describe the differences between a merger and acquisition and use the multimedia presentation to illustrate specific changes.
Write an announcement about the corporate reorganization for clients and customers. Explain the effective date of the reorganization and what effect, if any, it will have on client contact, services, products and warranties. Ensure customers and clients the company stands behind its products and services and will honor warranties and guarantees.
Dispatch the communication to customers and clients on your mailing list. Include the name of a sales manager or another employee responsible for client contact and invite customers and clients to direct their specific questions to that employee.
Prepare a similar announcement for vendors and suppliers. Explain how the reorganization will affect the business relationship. Send the announcement to all vendors and suppliers, including the name of a contact person responsible for purchasing issues for questions they might have.
Check business magazines and journals for case studies on how various companies handle communication dealing with corporate restructuring, reorganization and mergers and acquisitions.
- Forbes.com: The Key to Successful Corporate Reorganization
- University of Washington: Layoff & Reduction Communication Planning
- Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd Edition: Mergers & Acquisitions
- Sony: Sony Corporation Announces Major Reorganization and New Management Team Led by Howard Stringer
- Inc.: Layoffs, Morale and Right-Communication
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