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Dear Workforce How Do I Keep Morale Up During A Merger

Our hospital company is forming a joint venture whereby two hospital labs will run independently. This means about 200 people who now are classified as hospital employees will become employees solely of the new lab company. This has created anger and morale problems among these employees. They don't want to be part of the new lab company. What can I do to make this arrangement work?
July 17, 2003
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Related Topics: Mergers and Acquisitions, Dear Workforce
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Dear Morale Booster:

Unfortunately, this is not a unique situation in today'smerger-and-acquisition-focused marketplace. The most important element inmanaging this disparate workforce is communication.
Clearly understand what concerns the employees are voicing by asking andlistening, so that these concerns can be addressed appropriately. A third party(consultant, mediator, etc.) can help ensure the messages from both managementand from employees are being clearly communicated and understood.
Provide communication on the rationale for the consolidation and what itmeans for the organization and the employees. For example, does this move meanan increase in strength or opportunity for the company? Acknowledge theemployees' uncertainties and clearly articulate the purpose of the neworganization.
As with any change event, provide structure, information, and support to theworkforce. Articulate what the change process consists of, what the workforceshould expect on an organizational and operations level, and listen, understand,and address any and all concerns in a timely and efficient manner.
Consider providing a process that allows employees to understand and expresstheir emotions and move forward. This might include a change-management workshopor a discussion forum.
Provide support to managers so that they are equipped to work with employeesto address their concerns. Consider holding a meeting to discuss this processand ensure all managers are communicating consistent messages.
Communicate internally before communicating externally. Nothing is worse thanhearing news about your organization from an outside source before hearing itfrom management.
SOURCE: Ron Elsdon, director of retention services,DBM, and author of"Affiliationin the Workplace," San Jose, Calif., Nov. 18, 2002.
LEARN MORE: Read Best Practices of Mergers andAcquisitions.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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