Saturday, April 26, 2008

Air & Ground

The company that I am working for has recently merged with another company.

In case you're wondering, these are not 2 small firms looking to survive in the competitive business world, but rather, 2 large multinational companies looking to become an even larger giant in its field, striving to dominate the market. If I did not remember wrongly, during the merger Day 1, we were told by the senior management that we (ie. the merged entity) are now larger than Nike, than Starbucks, and many more established names in the world.



Should the employees be excited about the merger? Well, if you asked any of us - Note: and I am not refering to the top tier of senior management, but rather the people "on the ground"... you see, these "top management" folks seem to be always "in the air". They never see what is going on on the ground, and are always happy enjoying the fresh air above. And why shouldn't they be, with the millions continuing to flow into their fat pockets..

Anyway, I digress... back to the point - ie. the people "on the ground".

Ask anyone of us, and you'll definitely detect a thinly veiled sense of uncertainty and nervousness. The common worry, obviously is "will I still have a job after all the hoorays (about how great the merger is supposed to be) are over?"

Even for people, who are seemingly "safe" (although I'd venture to say that NOBODY is absolutely safe in such circumstances) due to their job roles, have to start thinking about how their jobs are likely to change after the merger. For instance, will the department have a new manager, and if so, how will the management style of this new person be? Will the measurement metrices (known sickeningly as the much hated "KPI"s) of our jobs be changed henceforth? How will the culture of the company change after the merger?

Thus far, the guys in the air have been sufficiently transparent and honest about things. They did not shy away from direct questions from the ground regarding possible job cuts. All they'd say is that in ANY mergers, there will inevitably be restructuring and realignment of business needs. Some jobs will definitely be impacted, and all they can promise is that people will be treated FAIRLY and with as much DIGNITY as possible.

Fair enough, I thought.

Still, it is scant consolation for many of us. It is hardly surprising that every time there is a merger (and/or acquisition) of companies, the ONLY people who benefit are the shareholders and the "air folks". (in this particular case, we have read reports that guy in the highest stratosphere is getting a bonus that is similar to what Rio Ferdinand cost for Man United to sign him from Leeds a couple of years back... do your Math..)

In business terms, these stratospheric bonuses are derived from "cost savings through the synergy and integration advantages from the 2 companies coming together". Sadly, we on the ground are painfully aware that a major source of the so-called "cost savings" are the result of thousands of broken rice-bowls (around the world).

Cruel reality? It's purely business, my friend... purely business.


Anonymous Thandeka said...

Well written article.

4:10 AM  

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