Complex personnel adjustments:
In restructuring, turnarounds and M&A

When it really matters

Even when it has to be done quickly, the development and implementation of a sustainable personnel concept. Delivering confident decisions and accuracy with regard to costs, selecting the right social criteria for redundancies and retaining high performers particularly in turbulent times. Creating a healthy perspective for all concerned, both during and after the crisis.

We at Hoss + Colleagues are specialists in complex personnel adjustments for medium sized enterprises and corporate groups. Together we examine and evaluate all possible options, developing an intelligent personnel concept which quickly and efficiently leads to your own, and your team’s success. Also in, or due to, precarious situations – precisely – when it really matters.

2

Some of our clients’ key issues:

The company:

Automotive, Tier 1,
Private equity financed company,
3,800 Employees

The situation:

»Imminent liquidity crisis. Incorrect application of the selection process for
terminating employment contracts. Several negative employment protection
judgements: we must do something quickly and purposefully to avoid the situation getting worse.«

...

Read more
The company:

BPO Industry,
Internationally orientated
acquisition, 5,000 employees

The situation:

»We find ourselves in the middle of a bidding process. For a successful conclusion we need a convincing personnel concept.«

The service section of the German subsidiary of an international company should be taken over and newly orientated. ...

Read more
The company:

Building supplies industry,
International group,
German site with 450 employees

The situation:

»The price war in our branch compels us to make further redundancies, the works council fights on all fronts. Good cooperation though is essential also after completion of the necessary measures.«

The company went through several restructuring phases including the reduction of staff numbers due to the continuing price war in the market. The situation was threatening to escalate ...

Read more
The company:

Logistic branch,
Merger,
2,800 employees

The situation:

»As part of the sale we must make massive staff reductions which the buyer is demanding be done promptly. The operational process must be optimised whilst maintaining normal production.«

Following a take-over, the integration of the new subsidiary into the concern was imminent during which staffing levels had to be reduced by 1,000 jobs ...

Read more
The company:

Print and media industry,
Family-run company,
650 employees

The situation:

»Our long-established company is threatened by a very real crisis. Without a significant contribution from the staff we aren’t going to survive.«

Changes in the market hit the long-established company hard. From a lack of success a full-blown liquidity crisis was threatening to follow ...

Read more
The company:

Chemical industry,
Business division of a
group of companies,
120 employees

The situation:

»The sale of the business division has already been decided. We need to secure the know-how of our employees in order to guarantee a smooth sale.«

The group of companies was experiencing a liquidity crisis. The fact that it was active in different market areas was a problem ...

Read more
3

Tier 1 in the automotive industry Private equity financed company, 3,800 Employees

»Imminent liquidity crisis. Incorrect application of the selection process for terminating employment contracts. Several negative employment protection judgements:  we must do something quickly and purposefully to avoid the situation getting worse.«
The situation

Due to the crisis 300 employees must be dismissed. The social criteria which formed the basis of the selection process was the result of a compromise reached between the board and the works council and was inherently incorrect resulting in a series of court cases: The climate between management and works council was dominated by hardened fronts and agitation, on top of that the managing director of HR became unavailable at short notice.

We were called into this situation by the investor to support the new CRO in the restructuring of the company group. In addition an experienced consultant was to take over the function of the HR director.

Our approach

We first analysed the situation and worked out the best possible solutions for the previously misguided actions and decisions. New measures were necessary which we progressively built up by systematically involving all relevant managers. In order to make an accurate selection of the social criteria applicable for the termination of employment contracts, we had to examine the comparability of the employees. The personnel files proved to have large gaps or indeed had not been completed at all. We investigated, talked to managers and employees, explored the prevailing contractual conditions of employment and produced a comprehensive overview for the management board.

Finally we developed a model for the social criteria, the aim of which being the retention of as many high performers as possible. Due to our systematic approach we could also step by step convince the works council. The very tense situation relaxed because of the clear and precise presentation of the facts and information which provided transparency.

The result

Clarity for the management, a new relationship of trust to both the works council and union and good prospects for high performers. Negotiations were completed quickly and concrete preparations made in the event of litigation.

Like to know more about this project?
Please contact us for further details.

BPO Industry Internationally orientated acquisition, 5,000 employees

»We find ourselves in the middle of a bidding process. For a successful conclusion we need a convincing personnel concept.«
The situation

In the middle of the tender process:  The take-over of the service section of a German subsidiary. Due to new technology the number of staff should be drastically reduced. The bidder was looking for specialists with experience in HR due diligence and with knowledge of near shore outsourcing solutions.

The company was constantly subject to incredible public scrutiny making it of vital importance to consider the political effect of every decision. Drastic reactions from the staff, strikes and negative headlines could easily have cost the seller shares in the market.

Our approach

We accompanied the due diligence process designing a personnel concept which developed and fully evaluated alternative location structures integrating this into a personnel costing model. This involved close consideration of several economic and political scenarios: Which employees and areas of responsibility should remain in Germany and which should be relocated abroad? In which locations, within Germany and abroad, would bundling be advisable? How could this be realised taking into account the need to balance interests? How could the social plan expenditure be kept within limits?

The result

It was a complex challenge to combine concrete figures, unclearly defined negotiation points and political factors all in one model. Through the comparison of possible scenarios we were able to convince the seller and all interested parties of a clear take over concept and near shore planning. Our client became the preferred bidder.

Like to know more about this project?
Please contact us for further details.

Building supplies industry International group, German site with 450 employees

»The price war in our branch compels us to make further redundancies, the works council fights on all fronts. Good cooperation though is essential also after completion of the necessary measures.«
The situation

The price war in the industry caused the long term crisis which now was affecting the heart of the company – tool manufacturing. Employees and works council were fighting on all fronts and the HR director was out of his depth in this situation. Trustful cooperation with the works council was out of the question at this point in time.

Our approach

We were asked to close down the tool manufacturing department. We started by first contacting the works council to explain our role and to include them in our considerations and to build trust. We analysed the situation of the company and interviewed workers as well as management.

It became clear very quickly that despite massive problems at the site, the concern was not in a position whereby they could operate in other projects without the know-how of the German tool manufacturers. The loss of competence would endanger the reputation of the concern and  was therefore classified as critical. We developed an alternative concept: Although the closure of the tool manufacturing department was inevitable, essential core competences were retained for the concern.

The result

Our concept convinced the board. The inclusion of the works council and staff meant that they were also in agreement on the proposed changes. The end result was a rapid agreement, avoidance of escalation and a new basis of cooperation with the works council.

Like to know more about this project?
Please contact us for further details.

Logistic branch Merger, 2,800 employees

»As part of the sale we must make massive staff reductions which the buyer is demanding be done promptly. The operational process must be optimised whilst maintaining normal production.«
The situation

Following a take-over, the integration of the new subsidiary into the concern was imminent, during which staffing levels had to be reduced by 1,000 jobs. The works councils refused any form of cooperation and threatened protests to draw public attention, potentially  causing considerable damage to the reputation of the company.

Despite internal optimisation measures and the transfer of 1,500 employees to new companies with new working conditions, the daily business must also run smoothly.

Our approach

We were certain of one thing: Arbitration proceedings would be unavoidable. With this conviction we systematically developed the project documentation and conducted the information and negotiating phases.

During this time the respectful and open dealings with the works council and employees were essential. This was the only way to reach a successful conclusion in cooperation with each other.

The result

Due to our precise preparation and reliable assessment of the situation we were not only successful in the arbitration proceedings but we were also able to convince the works council to cooperate in finding practical solutions at a corporate level – without external mediation.

Like to know more about this project?
Please contact us for further details.

Print and media industry Family-run company 650 employees

»Our long-established company is threatened by a very real crisis. Without a significant contribution from the staff we aren’t going to survive.«
The situation

The company was used to being successful but was hit hard by the changes in the market. Steady innovations and quality leadership simply couldn’t compensate the overcapacity and price erosion in the market. From a lack of success a full-blown liquidity crisis was threatening to follow. The owners recognised the danger and decided in favour of tough restructuring.

Contributions from the employees side in the form of a collective restructuring agreement must be demanded. Time was running out and yet the company seemed paralyzed, unable to move.

Our approach

Before we could talk about contributions towards the restructuring of the company we had to inform and include the staff. Not an easy task after 70 years of being one of the most highly respected companies in the business. Union representatives and their advisors supported the works council in their analysis of the situation, the evaluation of the restructuring concept and the decision-making process. With the help of the owners we were able to swiftly turn the attitude of resignation of the employees into one of solidarity and commitment.

Due to good cooperation we could quickly work on the options for a solution. However, each side was persistent in the negotiations – not least because the banks had to be convinced.

The result

The liquidity crisis could be averted but the issue of a lack of success could not be solved. The owner family decided to sell the majority of the capital intensive parts of the company.  We took over the HR responsibility for the division of the family business and the sale.

The good reputation, highly qualified staff and the strong innovative drive of the company meant that we were able to sell the business units very well. In the end only 135 jobs were lost.

Like to know more about this project?
Please contact us for further details.

Chemical industry Business division of a group of companies, 120 employees

»The sale of the business division has already been decided. We need to secure the know-how of our employees in order to guarantee a smooth sale.«
The situation

The group of companies was experiencing a liquidity crisis. The fact that it was active in totally different market areas was a problem. It wasn’t possible to raise synergies nor to find financial means to build up individual markets. The works council and staff reacted with massive protests fearing that the location would be broken up.

Our Approach

The restructuring concept was aimed at concentrating on the most significant business units and to sell the rest. It was crucial for the successful sale that the units to be sold had a perfect performance.

Top performers from research and development and production must be retained and a good relationship with strategically orientated investors optimally maintained.

We concentrated first on including the works council and union, attempted to dissolve the resistance and to gain their confidence in the solutions we developed. It was clear that the sale of the business units would not go through if the key staff disagreed with the transfer. Confidence building measures and a good relationship to the potential buyer were here the key to success. Our joint goal: ideally all employees, at least the key players should be won over for the new company.

The result

In intensive meetings with the works council and union we were able to convince them of the necessity of the sale and for them to accept the solution. That paid off since 99{21d77193c9b97a3bf714138d3822747c51061ad2471fd2af67fc96b5969b1309} of all employees voted for the transfer to the new company and agreed to forego the objection period.

Like to know more about this project?
Please contact us for further details.

Hoss + Colleagues

Our philosophy: To deliver a reliable basis for decisions despite time pressure. We quickly develop confidence amongst all parties concerned, create and deliver perspective for the company and its employees.

 

Lothar Hoss, Managing Director