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People Selection Post-Merger
Deciding who will stay and who will go after a merger is a key management decision. Ensuring the
selection process is open and fair, will help people to understand the decisions that are taken.
Aug 05, 2004
2004-2010, 50 Lessons Ltd.
How do you handle a merger in an efficient way? There is now a long track record of
companies that have come together. The great thing is to make sure that youve got a very
clear plan when you merge. You cant have two IT systems, two training centers or two
treasuries. Youve got to determine which things have got to be put together quickly, and
what can wait a little while.
We did the Lloyds TSB merger, and when you put together two very large companies and
you have a payroll of 90,000, you know that, by simply reducing duplication, you can take
maybe 10,000 people out of the combined organization: which is what we did.
If you want to prepare your own people to go through the trauma of a merger, youve got to
be able to say: Look, the only thing that will make this work is to create a company that,
when were finished with it, will be supremely better than what we had before; it will be
much better than the total sum of the parts. Well create much more shareholder value than
before. As a result of that, we will have fewer people. The overriding deal is that the best
person gets the job, whether its the Chief Executive or whether its the person who makes
the tea. If we accept that and we think were good enough, we will get jobs. If were not
good enough, if there is somebody better than us, we should not expect to keep our jobs.
If you say: That is an absolute blueprint of how were going to work; it applies to
everybody, then people say: Okay, thats tough but fair. You have to accept that there will
be some pushback when you want to take some people out, and youve just got to say:
No; weve done the plan and this is what is going to happen and it will happen.
When we did the Lloyds TSB merger we interviewed about 1,000 people in the space of
six weeks to decide which person would take which job. It wasnt necessarily going to be a
Lloyds person because it was twice as big as TSB; nor was it necessarily going to be a
TSB person. We chose the best person and all those people were interviewed. As a result,
even though a lot of people had to be made redundant, the people in the company said:
Well, they may not have got everything right, but at least its fair. We understand the
process, its very open and we know these things have to happen when two companies
But youve got to be very resilient in pushing those things through because someone will
say: You cant possibly get rid of this guy, hes been here for 30 years and hes brilliant.
Well, he may not be brilliant. He may have been there for 30 years, but thats no reason to
© University of Phoenix 2010
People Selection Post-Merger
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