Acquisition-driven employee engagement and program management

BASF: Acquisition-driven employee engagement and program management

Challenge:

Following the largest acquisition in its history, BASF—a large international chemical company headquartered in Germany—needed to retain talent in the face of anxiety produced by what was initially positioned as a “hostile takeover.”

Acquired American company Engelhard had a smaller global footprint and was culturally very different. Prior to closing the deal, BASF had no access to Engelhard’s 7,000+ employees at 99 sites around the globe.

Actions:

  • Formed a core  global integration communications team of more than 40 communicators from BASF, Engelhard and Gagen MacDonald, focused on delivering consistency and creating an emotional connection.
  • Developed a Strategic Story  to drive consistent communications and deepen employee engagement.
  • Selected, trained and deployed a team of 60 BASF leaders to serve as Integration Ambassadors in various locations worldwide.
  • Created an integration website/intranet  with confidential “Ask BASF” feature and “In My Own Words” employee profiles.
  • Orchestrated “face-to-face” strategies: Day One welcome event, open dialogue sessions with BASF leaders, business focus updates, and an appreciation gift.
  • Published the Insight Integration newsletter, which was translated into 12 languages and distributed bi-weekly, reaching the workforce of both companies

Results:

The strategic story served as the basis of all communications.

700 Engelhard employees attended the Day One Welcome Event and an additional 745 BASF and Engelhard locations attended via teleconference; the following business day, there were 14,000 visits to the Integration portal.

  • Employees received frequent and consistent information from a variety of sources. Employee comments included: “felt well informed,” “messages were clear,” and “appreciated hearing from the leader they know and trust.”
  • Within the first six months of the merger, BASF retained most key business leaders, technical experts and site managers worldwide. Retention of executive talent was a strong signal that convinced others to stay.
  • Eighty percent of site managers reported feeling well prepared to communicate change to employees.
  • “In My Own Words” was recognized by the Financial Times as an innovative way to help acclimate newly acquired employees.
  • The Holmes Group honored BASF and Gagen MacDonald with the prestigious Gold SABRE Award for Change Management for this project.

Other Case Studies