· 2 min read · Features

Shield Group CEO: Managing staff morale vital during takeover


International mergers and takeovers are on the rise. At The Shield Group, we have experienced this first-hand.

In 2012, India’s largest security company, Topsgrup, completed its acquisition of us. Topsgrup was keen to expand into the UK and build a platform for further expansion into Europe, so buying a British security services company made perfect sense. Such international mergers can be a time of uncertainty, but it is vital that companies continue to invest in their staff, keeping them fully engaged.

Ensuring employees are trained and satisfied can only boost productivity, as we discovered. Gaining trust from the outset was vital, as was managing staff expectations and concerns through clear communication from the top. For many reasons during a merger, it can be difficult to retain staff and keep them engaged. Obviously, people are concerned about their job security and they can feel increasingly stressed.

There can even be feelings akin to bereavement due to the loss of the  previous organisational culture. We were cautious when announcing the merger. As an international brand was taking over the business, many employees were concerned that certain job roles would be centralised in India, which was not the case. Consistent and regular communication to staff and all our stakeholders was key to managing any concerns. Staff were also reassured there would be no change in the UK management team.

Our understanding of the UK security market is crucial for helping our parent company succeed in its new markets. We decided to use financial incentives to maintain engagement and retention. ROI isn’t just about the business’s bottom line; it is equally important that our staff receive ROI for the exceptional hard work they put into the company. We introduced a new range of benefits, bonuses and salary increases to boost morale and team spirit.

However, financial rewards alone will not build long-term trust between staff, leaders and the organisation. Without trust, employees might jump ship the minute retention initiatives have been paid. This is where organisational support comes in. I believe most employees need to feel their organisation is a support system for them.

Investing in training and development was crucial to ensuring staff felt supported and secure. Investing in their long-term development meant they knew their jobs were not at risk. One big positive of being acquired was that Topsgrup is an ambitious company, keen to grow in the UK market. This brings additional positions, plus enhanced promotional prospects. We also invested in management training to make sure those moving up in the company can deliver in line with Topsgrup’s aims.

This was the thinking behind our state-of-the-art, £1 million Management Development Centre and training and development programmes. One of the initiatives we are particularly proud of is the creation of our Level 5 Diploma in Total Security Solutions, which will provide vocational career progression for young people.

Just as we are committed to offering our clients the best service, we are also dedicated to ensuring our employees get the most out of what is really their company and feel proud to be part of the Shield family – whoever owns it.