Boots increases levels of communication around merger with Alliance Unichem

High street chemist, Boots, merged with Alliance Unichem in August 2006.

Stephen Lehane, director of HR and organisation development at the newly-formed Alliance Boots, explains that communication with all employees was key even though no redundancies were made as a result of the merger. "Human beings’ normal behaviour is to be wary of change," he says.

The company brought its 100 most senior leaders together for a conference after the merger where they were given the chance to meet one another and the new board. It also made sure that employees further down the organisation were kept informed.

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"On day one of the merger, we had some celebratory activities around all parts of our business where we had various briefings about what was going on with cake and champagne and some mementos of the day. We have also had newsletters and videos [distributed to] our colleagues to give a consistent message about what we are trying to achieve," he says.

The company has not made any decisions yet about harmonising the benefits packages of staff, but is currently looking at bonuses for its senior management. "Clearly, if we have got people whose efforts need to be focused on Alliance Boots at the organisation, we need to reward them accordingly and that will be the rationale for change," adds Lehane.