In March 2016 North Yorkshire Audit Services (NYAS) made a joint decision to merge with West Yorkshire Audit Consortium (WYAC). The decision was key for both organisations to add stability and create a sustainable organisation going forward. After weeks of due diligence, internal meetings, a business case and merger plans, the respective Boards approved the merger and Audit Yorkshire was formed in July 2016.
Having been through a merger with a previous private sector employer and not having a very positive experience, I was keen to see how this merger would compare.
My previous experience involved finding out that the organisation I worked for was in ‘financial trouble’ and was going to merge via the press and not by the management team. This was then followed by a complete lack of communication and engagement throughout the whole process. A new culture and processes were also imposed on our team without consultation or consideration for what we had done in the past. There was also a planned restructure of the audit team, which involved a wholesale move to a new location and requirement for staff to reapply for their existing jobs.
My current experience of a merger has been a much more positive one. Communication has been good and I feel that I have been kept informed and consulted about key developments and decisions. It also feels like there has been a conscious effort to engage with staff, to listen to their concerns and act on them where appropriate.
Work streams have been set up and all staff have been given the opportunity to work together to develop new processes. Examples include: a new audit methodology; a new joint reporting template; a new website; and a number of other initiatives which are still ongoing. All of which have taken the best bits from each of the two previous organisations processes to create one improved approach.
Lastly, there has been no threat of redundancy or need to apply for our jobs, which has been a big relief.
The key factors for me which have made the difference are communication, consultation and job security and the management of these factors have made the merger experience a positive experience for me this time.
It’s now a year since the merger and overall I think it has been a success. The organisation is starting to feel like we are working as one team. There is still a way to go and lots more to do, but it feels like we are moving in the right direction.