At some point during every corporate manager’s life, there comes a time where a service provider goes through a merger or acquisition – and it’s extremely frustrating. This is especially true in relocation, because the provider selection process is time consuming, expensive and often a burden on already strapped HR and procurement departments. What happens when your department has gone through the lengthy RFP process, selected a relocation provider, built the relocation program and then, once everything is in place, is told that everything is changing? The team is probably hoping that it would be at least another 3-5 years before another RFP is considered, let alone implemented! Does this merger mean you need to do it all over again…now? Here are some important steps to take when you learn the big news:
1. Don’t panic! You’ve probably received an email from your current relocation company that explains the merger and why it is a great thing for your business. Read it, and try to understand some of the benefits that will come with the deal.
2. Review Your Criteria. Take another look at the criteria set forth at the beginning of the RFP process. Does it mesh well with the merger? For example, your company might have preferred to partner with a small-mid-sized relocation company but now, due to an acquisition, you are involved with a something much larger. Does this matter to you? Should it? The answer depends on what was important to you when you initially selected your relocation provider.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask a lot of Questions. Once you have reviewed your original criteria, you are going to have questions about how the merger is going to impact your relocation program. This is perfectly normal and you are entitled to ask as many questions as you want about the new relationship. Here are commons questions to consider:
Are the two relocation companies integrating really going to be bigger and better than ever?
Is size important to your business?
Will the benefits described help or hinder you in any way?
Will the processes you have in place change due to system differences?
Will there be changes in personnel, including your account manager, counselor and other team members?
What will happen to your current relocation provider’s leadership team?
Will the culture of your current provider be absorbed into the new company?
Are you familiar with the new company and, if so, what is your impression?
Will you receive the same level of service that you were promised during the RFP process?
Will there be new technology? Will it meet your reporting requirements?
Are you going to be a small fish in a large pond?
4. Be a Super Sleuth. Mergers are often fraught with challenges. In fact, many mergers fail to meet their original goals. There are a lot of reasons why mergers fail, but many of them boil down to leadership and relationships. It’s up to you to peek behind the curtain. Was this is a hostile merger or was it a friendly agreement? Is your provider’s leadership team staying on board or jumping ship? Does the relocation industry see this as a good development? Are you getting a positive or negative vibe from the employees? Knowing a little more about the deal, including the players involved and the emotions behind it, will give you insight into the potential for success.
Are you a corporate HR manager who has had your relocation provider merge with or be acquired by another relocation management company? If so, we'd be interested in hearing your views, comments, and/or concerns!