As consumer demands change and technologies advance in the manufacturing industry, it can be challenging for individual organizations to develop new products and services in a timely manner in response to these shifting dynamics. To accelerate time to market and drive competitive differentiation, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have become a critical business practice in the manufacturing industry. While many corporate expansion initiatives were put on hold or timeframes realigned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one practice which continued, albeit at a slower pace and lower volume than pre-pandemic levels, was the execution of mergers and acquisitions.
Don’t lose sight of the employee experience during a merger or acquisition
Over the past few years, I’ve worked closely with several UKG customers in the manufacturing sector who have successfully completed a merger or acquisition. These collaborations raised my awareness of the complexities involved in bringing two companies together. M&A is challenging during “normal” business conditions, let alone during a pandemic. There are many variables that manufacturing leadership must consider, at both an organizational level and at an individual employee-level. Team members become part of a new organization and are introduced to processes, policies and systems that are new, and possibly unfamiliar to them.
When it comes to time and attendance and workforce management, manufacturers going through M&A can’t afford any missteps. Ensuring accurate and timely pay is critical in giving employees an initial level of confidence in their new employer, not to mention maintaining compliance with new regulatory requirements that are often introduced during the M&A process. These requirements can vary by region, state, or country.
Based on input from several leading manufacturers, here are three important areas of consideration for developing and executing a successful workforce management strategy when completing a merger or acquisition:
1. Strategic vision
In the long-term, you need to determine what the go-forward workforce management strategy for your combined or larger organization looks like. To do so, our manufacturing customers suggest that you turn to experts in this space who can help you build a strategic vision on how to develop an actionable strategy that will support your near-term and long-term goals.
2. Data collection and system capacity
In the near-term, minimizing disruption to your employees is important, which is why you need to ensure you are adequately prepared from day one to manage time and attendance needs for your expanded workforce. This starts by ensuring you have the necessary data collection capabilities, which includes timeclocks, badges, biometric terminals, telephone access, and handheld devices including mobile. Be sure to ask yourself the following questions as you review system capacity and data collection in preparation for expansion:
- Do I have the proper server capacity to add more employees?
- Do I need more external devices, such as timeclocks, at existing locations?
- Are configuration changes, such as pay rule modifications, needed to accommodate new locations/regions being added?
- Do I need assistance with the integration and roll out to additional locations?
- Do I need support with testing the application to ensure we are ready to run payroll for the expanded company?
3. Change management and user adoption
Beyond blending processes and systems, organizations need to have a plan for change management and training to support employees who are brought onto new timekeeping platforms. Our manufacturing customers recommend partnering with technology providers who can guide you on how to improve user adoption and employee engagement by delivering the following services:
- User adoption assessment: Identifies and analyzes groups affected by the implementation; assesses education and communication plans
- Change management: Helps you develop a full change management strategy and provides ongoing support
- Training development and delivery: Tailors training materials to your employee and system needs and provides a database that mirrors your production environment
- Performance support: Helps you develop in-the-moment performance support tools, including print and online interactive job aids and task simulations
As you embark on your own M&A journey, I hope these workforce management considerations will help you prepare to welcome new employees and ensure a smooth transition to your organization.
For more resources on how UKG can provide WFM and HCM solutions for your manufacturing workforce, click here.