Merger & acquisitions: What should HR consider?

Merger & acquisitions: What should HR consider?

One of the most challenging tasks for an HR professional is managing a merger and acquisition (M&A). As every phase is filled with potential risk for a business, as well as creating doubt and anxiety for employees. So, during merger & acquisitions: What should HR consider?

Get involved from the beginning
Sometimes HR can get involved in an M&A at the last phase but that can often be too late. If HR are involved from the beginning, they will be able to quantify the financial aspect of the people issues. It is especially worth considering certain hidden costs, such as pensions and benefits.

When you merge or acquire another business, changes to the business are sure to occur. It is important to consider Integration vs Transformation. Make sure that there is a clear people plan, especially for those that need to be retained, ensure these relationships are nurtured and they feel secure. One of the major reasons an acquisition fails is due to losing key employees and the information they hold.

Ensure that there is a definite strategy in place to integrate or transform the businesses post-acquisition. Allowing everyone to be prepared for if/when the deal occurs. These days technology will play a significant role in peoples productivity but it is one of the key area’s that can be forgotten.

It is imperative to mesh the cultures of the two businesses at a senior leadership level. It is HR’s role to ensure there is sufficient understanding and buy-in at the top, about the pitfalls of not addressing this at an early stage.

Don’t Fear Change
Change is something that is feared by most. Especially within an M&A, as it creates uncertainty. Again, HR is key in helping to smooth out the transition for employees. This can be done by calming fears, driving authentic leadership and being transparent about the change.

To discuss further, you can email me on

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Transitioning from the corporate world

Transitioning from the corporate world

It’s been 6 months since I took the plunge. I made the move from the corporate recruitment world to working for a small business with a close friend. And I haven’t looked back.

In these months of working at re:find I have learnt a lot, and I mean a lot! One of the main things being that everything you do is a reflection of you and your brand. There are no corporate layers to hide behind, your actions reflect you and whatever you do has an impact on your own reputation in the market.

While the transition from the corporate world hasn’t been easy, there has been a lot of adjusting into new ways of working. Below is my list of attributes that I feel are needed to survive in a small business and how it differs from the corporate recruitment world.

In order to succeed, you must be self-motivated, nobody will tell you what to do. This is good in a sense, as it means you don’t have anyone checking up on you. Allowing you to have free rein to get on with things. It can be hard to be self-motivated without a team around you, but my main motivation is that I genuinely care. I care about helping businesses meet their objectives, I care about understanding my client’s needs and care that my candidates get the right advice. I also care about my reputation. And, as I said before, every action is a reflection on you, so maintaining my reputation and providing the best service is super important and another reason to care. On a personal level, I want, in fact, I need, to perform well to provide for my family and that motivates me even more.

Next, there are no more pointless KPIs. Which means that you can focus on the important things that allow you to grow your business. Of course, KPIs can be important within a business and can provide incentive and motivation for staff. But for me the focus is now not on the number of CV’s I have sent or the number of meetings in the diary, it is about helping clients and candidates. I feel we are making a difference, providing our customers with a great service and focusing on the things that make the biggest impact rather than completing a box-ticking exercise.

What I enjoy about working for a small business, is the freedom to choose who you want to work with. The biggest change is the ability for me to say no to working with a client who doesn’t share our values. We are trusted advisors to our clients and candidates, we build strong relationships and really get to know our clients and their businesses. This means we can add real value. As we’re not just a number on a PSL or are being told by head office who we can or can’t work with.

Possibly one of the best rewards is that I have complete autonomy to work when and where I want. The greatest benefit of this is that it enables me to spend time with my family. With traditional corporate recruitment firms, you are expected to be in the office from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday. I am not saying that we don’t put in the hours, we do, and in actual fact, I probably work more hours now than I ever did before, but they are flexible and seamlessly integrated into my life. I know what I need to do so I get it done, even if that is at home.

Remote Working
You have the flexibility to work from anywhere, so if the office gets a bit boring you can pick up your laptop and find a good coffee shop to work from. With the help of WIFI accessibility, cloud-based systems and my smartphone, I can seamlessly move between the two: working in the office and working remotely. I am now able to work from anywhere and be more productive

Now, I’m not saying that it’s plain sailing and, as we all know, working for yourself has its own challenges. But I can say that the benefits and opportunities that it opens up, means that I can concentrate more on the things that matter. This is going to make the biggest impact for both my customers and my family.

Have you transitioned from corporate recruitment to a small business or vice versa? Or are you looking to work with a small business?

To have a chat about your executive search, contact me at

You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professionals specialist here.

The birth of the roving recruiter

Flexible working in recruitment

When re:find started out, I worked on my own in a mixture of hotel lobbies, coffee shops, David Lloyd gym members areas, private members clubs, a friends office space and in my own home office.

It makes you realise the importance of 2 things. Plugs and free WiFi.

Just kidding! Well, not really. Anyone who has worked remotely will know that on a day-to-day basis, it’s mightily hard to get anything done without those. Saying that I think my next business venture should be a TripAdvisor-style app, which reviews UK plug availability.

What I’m really talking about here is freedom and work-life balance.

I previously worked in a large firm with an 8-to-8 culture. Apparently, this has changed a bit over the years to 8-to-7, but that could just be hearsay.

Most recruitment firms are still very much in the dark ages when it comes to all of this. They say they do flexible working. But what they really mean is, you can leave at 5:30pm, if you have hit your KPIs that week. It’s hardly revolutionary.

As we enter the ‘Gig economy’, it seems that there is no reason why recruitment firms couldn’t be more open to different ways of working. With the introduction of cloud-based systems, mobile phones and a variety of social environments to work in. In many ways, it’s never been easier to build flexibility into a recruitment model.

As mentioned in a previous blog, it all comes down to trusting people to do the job they are paid to do and I think a lot of the larger recruitment agencies still lack a lot of that. Which is a pity for a people business.

Clearly, there is a need to communicate regularly, to build a culture and to meet up as a team. But we are in the digital age and this can be done in many ways. With the use of social channels such as Skype, Google Hangout and Yammer.

Will the large agencies ever change or is this is the way recruitment is going? Are we all soon going to be roving recruiters?

To discuss further, you can email me on

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.