Topics: Alcatel-Lucent, Ben Verwaayen, Patricia Russo Pages: 47 (14200 words) Published: January 4, 2011
Tricky twosome

P.B. Nageshwar
What happens when a merged entity is left with two marketing managers or two sales heads? A case in point is the Alcatel-Lucent merger. During the merger, the smooth settlement of HR issues was on top of the agenda for both companies. They decided to deal with both pre-merger and post-merger integration issues by holding a series of meetings between the top HR executives at the two companies. Issues such as salaries and benefits, designations, and other sensitive structural matters were discussed thoroughly. Everything was planned around the Day 1—December 1, 2006— the day when the merger would become effective. Says Ronald D’Souza, HR Head, Alcatel-Lucent India: “We knew that on Day 1, the company would have two senior executives heading the same function. So, we decided that the best man would continue to hold the designation and the other one would be either given similar options in regions such as China or Singapore or be asked to sit back for sometime before we found the right opportunity for him/her.”

And this is what exactly happened after the merger. The company also made it clear that it did not have solutions to every problem; so those who had major problems adjusting to the post-merger situation were given time to move on.

Ronald D’Souza
Smart planning followed the initial communication. Before the merger, Alcatel was a major GSM player and Lucent a prominent CMDA player. “In order to retain the best human capital with us, the company tried to impart specific skills to employees on the best technologies of both the merged companies so that they could work on projects efficiently,” says D’Souza. Getting the point across

In an M&A scenario, there is nothing called enough communication. Says P.B. Nageshwar, Head (Human Resources), Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj: “When we decided to go for a merger, employees were anxious about their future. While it was not possible to satisfy everyone, sufficient care was taken—by way of adopting a scientific, studied approach—to plan roles for them in line with the new environment and the aspirations of individuals.” Jones Lang LaSalle merged with Trammell Crow Meghraj in 2007. The company tried to take the critical talent pool into confidence before, during and after the merger.

Agrees A.V.K. Mohan, Group President (Global HR), Spice Corp.: “Many M&As have not fulfilled their objectives because senior managements failed to pay sufficient attention to the many human resource issues involved.” Mohan was part of the Spice team when Idea Cellular acquired a controlling stake in Spice Telecom’s Karnataka and Punjab circles. He was also the Corporate Head (HR) with Digital GlobalSoft when HP acquired Digital GlobalSoft in 2003. What’s critical is that “good managers spend around 50-60 per cent of their time communicating with employees,” says Mohan.


About Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent’s vision is to enrich people’s lives by transforming the way the world communicates. Alcatel-Lucent provides solutions that enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide, to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users.  As a leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband access, carrier and enterprise IP technologies, applications, and services, Alcatel-Lucent offers the end-to-end solutions that enable compelling communications services for people at home, at work and on the move. 

With more than 77,000 employees and operations in more than 130 countries, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach. The company has one of the largest research, technology and innovation organizations focused on communications — Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs — and the most experienced global services team in the industry. Alcatel-Lucent achieved adjusted revenues of Euro 16.98 billion in 2008, and is incorporated in France, with headquarters in...
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