Growth and expansion through acquisition can be exciting and profitable, but maintaining focus on a strong and effective health and safety system during the merging of two or more companies can be challenging. The importance of integrating health and safety after a merger is imperative in ensuring a stable and structured HSE system is in place is also crucial to reducing both risk and costs to all involved.
Understand the Other Company
Conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the other company’s current safety culture and process safety standards, as well as any previous safety incidents. Once it has been adequately understand what makes the other company tick in terms of safety, consider not just how the company’s standards can improve, but also whether adapting any of theirs can potentially improve health and safety standards in the other.
Install qualified staff
Choose strong, trustworthy employees to lead initiatives regarding company safety and communicate with both merging parts of the newly unified company. Relegating these tasks to those with little experience or weak negotiating skills will destine the initiatives to failure before they have even begun. Installing an external health and safety consultant as a point of contact for all is usually a good call.
Install leadership from the top
Only if they trust in leadership will employees be willing to speak up when necessary and be part of the solution. This leadership needs to be visible, responsive and genuine if the merger is to be successful. With disengaged management also comes a disengaged workforce and when managers are not happy, it shows in productivity. Leaders should guide and encourage their teams, however, if these leaders do not succeed, employees will also follow their detachment from embanking into the new corporate culture.
Consider cultural differences
Cultural differences between companies may extend to the general culture beyond the workplace, so make sure to take these issues into account when integrating your safety programs. It is certain that two merging companies will not work in the same ways and trying to force a type of work structure onto one another will make for uncomfortable scenarios
Lack of transparency
When a merger or acquisition has happened, it is easy to keep the mindset of confidentiality. However, for employees to feel valued it is important that they are included in everything that will affect the everyday work structure. This is not only for employees to have a straight path but also in order to create a bond of responsibility for the new agenda.
Benefits of a strong HSE management system include:
- Reduced injuries and incidents
- Cost savings
- Improved profitability
- Improved reputation
- Improved employee morale
- Better Quality Control
- Better Performance (audits and regulatory compliance)
- Better informed decision making
With the right approach, organisations may actually be able to use mergers and acquisitions as a springboard to improve worker safety, and given the time and correct procedures in place, this somewhat daunting task can have huge benefits. For further information on integrating health and safety after a merger or acquisition, please contact us here.