Ben and Jerry's Case Study
Yola Carlough was the head of Social Mission in Ben and Jerry’s, and she had to face many issues concerning the mission statement of the company, such as political voice, employee morale and product development. It was hard for her to integrate the social beliefs of Ben and Jerry’s into the code of conduct of Unilever.
• Employee Morale:
Prior to the acquisition, employees of Ben and Jerry’s saw the company as a network of family and friends in which they were all fully involved and integrated. Ben and Jerry’s had a policy in which no one was fired. They developed a 2 year grace period with Unilever in which no employees would be fired, but after this period Unilever decided to restructure and lay off many workers. Although they offered severance packages which included one-month’s salary for every year of employment, there were still feelings of low morale among employees. Before the acquisition, the company was tied deeply to its local routes, but after the acquisition, 70% of employees felt that Ben and Jerry’s had abandoned its local origins.
So we have several recommendations which we think could help Yola Carlough improve employee morale. Because many of the employees had worked all their lives for Ben and Jerry’s, many of them lacked expertise in other ways. So, alongside the severance packages, Carlough could also offer training and education in other areas to help them find new jobs, with the possibility of acquiring a new different job in Unilever, or other companies. Ben and Jerry’s came from a small town in which most people were resistant to change. Part of the reason for low employee morale was the lack of information given on the changes that would take place post-acquisition, so if employees were better informed on the changes and the positive influence of the acquisition they would feel more confident