When Isbell Oil Company merged with and took over control of Johnny Ray Oil Drilling, one of the foremost priorities was to prepare Human Resources to strategically communicate with both the new and existing members of the Isbell family. HR prepared a set of messaging to introduce the newly expanded Isbell, and felt the pulse of the company by meeting with over 600 employees. While employees gradually embraced the new Isbell, the messaging could have been reinforced with a more comprehensive communications package that include valuable, tangible programs that truly weave the firms together. When trying to strengthen branding, a company should first revisit its mission and vision. While Isbell introduced a new brand promise to its customers, the case does not specifically mention programs and messaging to rally employees around memorable key words that represent the expertise and purpose of new Isbell Oil Company and what kind of future the company is trying to create in this world. When educating new and existing employees on corporate values, Isbell should not restrict itself to one-sided mass messaging. Isbell could have leveraged social media to introduce to both internal and external audiences the employees and company programs that embody the Isbell corporate values. Employees want to be proud of their employer, and it helps to see their company brand being positively portrayed in public.
Furthermore, employees can be curious and concerned about the progress of the merger. They will appreciate internal merger updates. As an employee, it would be awkward to hear about your company’s merger problems first through a third-party such as a customer or the news media. Employees should preferably hear about any upcoming major announcements a little bit before the investors and the general public, and it is HR’s responsibility to get the internal audience prepared so they can represent Isbell sensibly when confronted by external stakeholders after the news breaks. Isbell probably also has an internal social network to foster discussion and follow-up surrounding the merger. These proactive practices lead naturally to an integrated crisis management program that includes input from those who used to work in HR at the acquiree firm Johnny Ray. It will serve Isbell well in the long term if employees from both sides find their new, combined HR department trustworthy, credible and reliable, in good times and bad. Company HR was on the right track by clarifying policies, benefits and expectations. While corporate buzzwords can effective, employees care a lot more about their compensation package. Johnny Ray employees must have been worried about their renewed employment agreement and were wondering what specific contract conditions and fringe benefits have changed. They want a smooth transition to their new insurance plan, and things that matter to their bottom line such as the new process of getting company expenses reimbursed. The Johnny Ray employees who were most worried were probably the administrative staff, wondering about their job security given the inevitable duplication of certain back-office functions. All employees probably wonder about changing expectations, any changes in the ways that they are evaluated and considered for promotion, and whether incentive systems such as performance-based pay have been realigned given the new brand promise. A few simple emails and fun events such as facility rebranding may show the company’s commitment to increased inclusiveness, but they do not sufficiently alleviate all of the abovementioned concerns. There should have been trainings, workshops, and dedicated intranet sites developed in order to achieve a full transition. Training content would also need to be customized, as new and existing Isbell employees come in to these meetings with drastically different levels of understanding. My father has experienced first