Solving Root-cause Employee Relations Issues in U.S. Multicultural Company

HUMAN RESOURCE SERVICES: Solving Root-cause Employee Relations Issues


A mid-west U.S. private equity firm retained EWA to address problems in two recently-acquired portfolio holdings with complementary lines of analytical testing equipment products. Along with their U.S. locations, one of the companies had a plant in China, the other in Vietnam.

EWA was asked to conduct an Organization Assessment to validate the issues and their causes, and provide solutions to resolve them.

HUMAN RESOURCE SERVICES: Solving Root-cause Employee Relations Issues


Step 1

Data collection, analysis and recommendations

Performed the Organizational Assessment by conducting 3 group interviews to obtain information in the context of their Core Values, and to get input on what managers perceived as conditions on the floor:

    • Top Management
    • Middle Management
    • First line managers
    • Conducted individual interviews with members of a representative stratified sample of hourly employees
    • EWA team members also made many plant tours to see employees at work and observe their interactions with managers and fellow employees.
Step 2

Implement recommended actions

    • EWA prepared a report to management that included recommendations for improvements. EWA reviewed the report and recommendations with management to get agreement on specific steps and priorities.
    • After joint review, EWA finalized a roadmap for improvement. In addition, EWA helped management establish metrics to measure change in hard issues (productivity, financial results), and soft issues (employee relations, complaints).
Step 3

Measure near-term, mid-term and long-term results

Short Term

    • Reset all branding to new company
    • Improve top down and upward communications
    • Establish and reinforce formal recognition programs
    • Accelerated start to develop more effective supervisory skills

Mid Term

    • Expand ESL classes to improve facility communications and foster better team work
    • Resolve lingering transition issues
    • Improve retention of new hires
    • Develop HR systems
    • Continue to develop more effective supervisory skills
    • Identify and rectify any internal equity issues
    • Develop a meaningful Safety program with accountability

Long Term

    • Study ways to adapt effectively to changes in workforce and labor market demographics
    • Develop innovative approaches to recruiting sources
    • Continue supervisory training and bench strength development
HUMAN RESOURCE SERVICES: Solving Root-cause Employee Relations Issues


Based on the data we gathered, EWA recommended short-term, mid-term and long-term tactics and strategies to address the issues.

    • Created a “One Company/One Culture” environment using the PE firm’s Corporate Core Values as a framework.
    • Suggested resolutions to employee relations issues.
    • Gained consensus with Executive Management on issues, priorities and next steps.
    • Developed metrics to measure progress and to guide clear and open communications.
    • Facilitated implementing solutions to enhance employee cooperation, engagement and participation.

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