During mergers, senior management officials have an obligation to keep the top workers as involved as possible in the merger proceedings (Zajac, 2006, p. 209) The best model to use in this merger is therefore is a Collegial model. This model will be aimed at getting the pilots to feel part and parcel of the ongoing management decisions as the overall implementation of the same. The adoption of this model will serve as the first step towards achieving better pilot participation as well as their input towards resolving the any complications that arise from the employee relations. To achieve this plan, the following steps will be followed.
Strategies to Obtain the Support and acceptance of Pilots.
First, an all inclusive meeting will be held to review the pilots ranks and seniority system. This will also evaluate the pilots pay regime. In understanding the pay regimes, the committee will be well placed to establish a middle ground between the two systems. This will therefore give an insight into the best system of harmonising the pay package as well as the seniority structure for the pilots. The select committee will then be set up to establish the similarities that exist between the seniority system, the payment system, as well as the type of planes that the different pilots handle. Once this has been done the next step that will feature the pilots will the be undertaken.
A meeting that will incorporate representatives selected by the pilots themselves will be convened. According to (Recklies 2006) if the change involves redundancy and job losses to some employees the the change is bound to be resisted. The first step therefore is to give the pilots the assurance that none of them is going to be rested. This therefore opens a fertile ground for a more open engagement. Since a collegial model is the best approach for such a forum. The pilots representatives should therefore be requested to make submissions on the best approach that should be taken. The involvement of the pilots gives them confidence to participate in the discussions with the full knowledge that their participation is held in high esteem. Similarly according to (Carnal 2006), the participants ought to be exposed to the facts as early as possible. If the staff needs to be reduced then the should be informed. the should therefore be requested to participate in the development of a good severance package for the workers.
After laying down all the facts to the pilots, they will then be requested to look at the proposed new arrangement as developed by the committee. This should be the arrangement that has put into consideration all the common practices al seniority plans. In view of this therefore, the pilots representatives a will be requested to suggest improvements to the set up. It is expected that the meeting should incorporate the pilots from different cadres to enhance a better understanding of the seniority system. Similarly, to enhance the relationship and cohesion the pilots representatives will be encouraged to work in one group.
The drumming up of a common pay system will enable the pilots to feel part of the merger decision making process. The process will also help in pointing out any stark differences that might exist between the pay systems of the different companies. The contentious areas will then be discussed and the best solution arrived at. In case there are levels of seniority for the pilots that are not present in one of the structures, they will be include in the new structure. The key reason for introducing new levels of seniority is to ensure that there are no employees who will feel demoted after the merger has been completed. Similarly the pay package will be harmonised such that for those who have a specific level of pay, it will be equated in all the groups such that a particular cadre of employees will be getting a package that is equal. Hopefully the company will manage the slight salary increments that might be necessary since the merger will bring great economies of scale. The pilots will then be involved in discussions to determine the most fair stake of ownership for the pilots of the two different groups. This is also to be a key consideration in the efforts to make the pilots feel to belong to the group. the partial ownership granted to the pilot will give them the confidence that they are art of the decision making process. The pilots will therefore play a very vital role in helping turn around the attitude of the other workers towards the merger.
Strategy for the other stake holders.
The stake holder feel like the group having the most to lose from this deal. This is especially the case among the workers of North west. Therefore for any serious negotiations to take place, their fear must be allayed as the first step in getting them feel as part of the merger. The model developed by (Lewin, 2002 ), puts change as a three part process. The first part is what he referred to as unfreezing. This involves overcoming any existing prejudices among the workers. This is probably the most challenging part of the process. This is because the changes are accompanied by confusion and uncertainty. In the situation therefore, it will be vital to establish a good communication channel with all the stakeholder and get them first to understand their take in the whole merger process.
After the stakeholders are duly informed of the consequences of the merger to their personal standings with the company, they will also be explained the company policy as far as the retirement of the employees. At the same forum the workers will be informed of the severance package that those who opt to take the voluntary early retirement will be entitled to. In keeping true to the 3- step model developed by Kurt, this will be like first stage. The first step will be effectively completed by asking for the stakeholders views on the settlement of key issues such as the local communities. It ought to be understood that the corporate social activities of the specific organizations will be upheld as well as the environmental activities. It ought to be understood that if any side sees like it will lose in the process, then the merger is bound to fail.
In the same vein, the people will have to be made to understand the benefits of the merger as well as the necessity of the merger. The merger comes at a time that the only way to retain the market is to reduce the costs and increase the savings on operation costs. This necessity is further trigged by the sky- rocketing of global aviation fuel costs. This therefore will lead to an increase of the available resources for ensuring employee welfare.
In addressing the managements needs, the committee will have to explain to them both the necessity of the merger and the advantages. This will therefore give a good start in helping reduce the fears they have on their job securities. A model will also have to be developed to explain where the different members fit in the model. The lay-off will have to be explained and the management made to understand that they will be done in the most reasonable of ways. It is also necessary to have the people understand that the strengthening of the two companies will increase their opportunities as well as raising the likely incomes of the people. The workers from Northwest who have the feeling of a loss will also be made to understand the benefits of the merger. They will be exposed to the fact that they will retain their offices in the region besides the headquarters of the merged company moving to Atlanta. These retained offices will however need restructuring and reorganisation to accommodate the new model.
The second part of the 3- step model comes in. This part involves the effecting and communicating the change of the system to the employees. This will have to be in two steps. First the committee will develop a model of the new structure. They will then communicate the likely model and ask for workers to suggest the likely improvements to the model. This will make them feel part of the change and therefore embrace it more openly. The embracing of change as well as the implementation of the planned model will come mores easily if the workers feel to own the plan. This participation by the workers will therefore feature prominently deciding the eventual changes that might need to be effected if the structure of the company is bound to have some gradual change.
On the side of the of the second part will be the neighbouring community. Pamphlets will therefore have to be developed to Inform the communities of the mergers commitment to retaining and improving the previously existing social valuers and activities. They will also explain the future strategies in as far as the company is concerned. This will therefore give the company a good standing. It is essential to keep the communities and the customer close since they form the basis of operation. The purpose will be to communicate effectively the benefits they will obtain from the proposed merger. This will involve rigorous marketing strategy that will seek to explain to the populace the good side of the merger as well as retaining their confidence in the airline.
The third step of the three step model will then be effected. This will be the most sensitive and will therefore need to be gradually and carefully implemented. This system will involve the shifting of the operations style. The gradual changing will need to be done in a manner that will ensure that there is success. This will involve the rebirth of the organisation as well as the transition of the companies in all the departments. The plan for the change should be well developed. The employees should know where they fit in the entire picture and also know the time plan. This gives them the chance to get a good feel of the new structure. The development and communication of a clear cut model on the expected position and standing of the different employees in the model will help in two ways. First it will eliminate the feeling on the side of the employees of Northwest that they are losing out in the merge. Secondly it will help set out a clear cut structure by for those in management positions to know exactly how to handle the employees in as far as their ranking is concerned.
The establishment of the organisational structure, in as far as the union of the employees is concerned, will also be another key concern. This will feature prominently in deciding the implementation of worker relations. The issue will however need to be thoroughly consulted and researched before any action is taken. This also requires the input of the directors as well as the workers. In the formative stages a structure on whether a union should be adopted or not will be decided. The system will therefore have to cater for the establishment of the workers union in regard to the established agreement. If the decision taken hitherto will be the benchmark in deciding the way forward. According to (Bridges 2003), changes in organisations are best effected by the employees themselves. This model therefore should strive to put employees at the heart of any changes that might eventually arise from the reorganisation. Besides the employees playing a vital role in easing the transition, they will also play a big part in ensuring that the running is smooth and the cooperation helps in good delivery of services.
The Closing of Hubs.
The hubs are likely to present a tricky dimension in the Merger. First they will prove a challenge if they will involve the laying off of the employees in such hubs. Secondly, the challenge of keeping the customers from these hubs will have to be addressed since the customers will have to be made to feel confident in the new set up. The first thing the management should do therefore, is to address the cost effectiveness of the hubs in question. If these hubs are productive, then the question of closing them down wont be a major issue. The closing of these hubs therefore should not be sudden. This is because the hubs will have to be assessed appropriately. The management should therefore engage a good team that will carry out the audit to establish the suitability of these hubs. Once the suitability is established then the decision on closing will be made. If any hub is to be closed, then the best way to handle closure is first to transfer any of the employees that are permanent on the centres to other centres. The Second step should be to release the contracted employees, this will follow the previously established severance protocol. The last step is to leave these centres as selling points for the group. This should therefore give the management an opportunity to monitor the market trends.
New Corporate Culture.
The new set-up will have a problem of deciding the best practices to undertake in the establishment of the practices that are to be followed in the daily operations. The employee relations as well as the administrative systems form part of the key considerations in the institutions. This is informed by the fact that the different relations strategies in the companies are likely to differ. The best way is to first hold consultative meetings with the workers representatives. These meetings will be aimed at developing a effective structure for the work relationship. The structure will also include series of team building activities to eliminate the aspect of mistrust and animosity that might arise among the different employees. The team building will therefore establish a good working relationship among the employees.
To effect these strategies, the system ought to invest heavily in terms of three things. First is the employee time for all the consultative meetings to be held. these will require a lot of time from the employees. The second is the money for implementing these structures. This needs a lot of money to be invested into the meetings. Lastly the company will need to invest money into offering good severance packages to the employees who are leaving. This will encourage the employees who are of age to take the option of early retirement. Generally the whole process requires keenness and attention to detail if any meaningful success is to be attained.
Bridges W. (2003). Making the Best of Change in Transition Management. Washington: Perseus press
Carnal, C. (2003). Change Management in Organisations. London: Prentice and Hall
Davis, K. & Newstrom, J.K. (2002). Behaviour and Organizations. New York: McGraw hill publishers.
Lewin, K. (1951). Social Science Field Theory. New York: Harper Collins.
Zajac, E. (2006). Political Economy of Fairness. Cambridge: MIT.