We’re in an era of flexible business that requires us, as service providers, to evolve if we’re going satisfy our client needs. With the typical lifespan of FM contracts ranging just three years and a number of mergers and acquisitions in progress at any given time, the FM industry is, by nature, in a perpetual state of change and renewal. Regardless of whether a merger or acquisition or TUPE situation has taken place, reorganisations should go far deeper than simply a change of title. Already, FM suffers by its own transient nature; being an outsourced service you’re always in danger of contracts, teams and service models constantly churning.
Following the creation of a joint venture in 2016, Servest formally merged with international facilities services company, Atalian, back in May, to form Atalian Servest. We have thus uncovered some important facts around merging and aligning, in what is increasingly being referred to as a people profession.
When organisations come together, people often underestimate the human cost of change and the disruptive effect it can have on clients. Having a strategic focus on the merger or acquisition can help to avoid key employees seeking other opportunities as well as a dip in performance levels.
Unrealistic timelines to achieve cost synergies can eclipse the valuable strengths of an organisation, and its people. Of course, whether it’s a merger or an acquisition, will greatly influence the approach, but conducting due-diligence enquiries and interviews with present and past members is a great way to learn about a business and how it operates – and its people! It’s important to give voice to each business involved, that way you can create a hypothesis of the M&A with focus points to keep in mind along the way. Referring to these focus points will help to produce a leaner operation model that still has flexibility to it. Fine tuning your organisation’s key principles, both externally and internally, is extremely important. Everything you do should align with these principles
The structure of an organisation is obviously an important consideration, but it’s processes, mindsets and behaviours are what underpins that structure and keeps it working. It’s not enough to think of people as numbers in an M&A agreement, their capabilities and personal working styles comprise a significant part of a team’s productivity. Once you’ve got the fundamentals of your business culture in place, that puts you in a position to innovate. There is also a whole supply chain network of subcontractors within FM contracts that need to be kept up to speed with changes too, so communication is imperative.
Even with a careful strategy in place, there will almost certainly still be room to adjust the trajectory of the reorganisation. It would be unrealistic to imagine the combination of two distinct cultures would not encounter any turbulence. They key to overcoming these obstacles is encouraging open debate before implementing appropriate solutions. The sharing of knowledge is a universal route for solving problems so listening to a collection of perspectives will often set you on the right path.
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