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When making the decision to go public there are numerous considerations to keep in mind. Going public could be the best decision you ever made but don't forget about the people side of your business if you choose to do this! Many of your departments will experience change however your Human Capital (Resources) group could be one of the largest that will require adjustment. Let's look at some of the functions that your Human Capital group performs and how they may be impacted.
Talent Management - To ensure your roles meet the needs of a public organization, your talent management processes may need to change. As a public entity, you will require financial staff members to have knowledge of IFRS reporting standards. If this skill does not currently exist in-house, you may need to explore outside of your organization to identify this skill set. Going public may require you to conduct a job analysis, resulting in updated job descriptions, roles and responsibilities, to ensure that you have the right people in the right place for the "new" organization. As a public entity, you may need new roles such as Investor Relations personnel or changes to other skill sets, such as front line administrative staff members who are able to respond appropriately to increased enquiries. The exploration of new sourcing strategies may be required to identify these changed skill sets. Your background checking procedures may need to be strengthened to include criminal background checks, where appropriate. And your succession planning processes may need to become more robust in order to provide confidence that a plan is in place for when turnover happens. The public eye will be on your organization and that eye often focuses on the people!
Another functional area is Transformation & Change Management – a strategy will need to be developed to engage your employees through the transition to a public entity. This includes a detailed communication plan to help explain "why" you are going through this process and "how" this change will impact them. This transformation strategy will help to smooth the path for your current employees.
You will also need to consider Training & Development. What skills sets are now required or changed? Can the new skill sets be trained as opposed to hired from outside of the organization? Do you have qualified personnel internally to conduct the training or do you need to utilize external resources? Will your executives require training on how to speak with investors, present to the Board, etc.?
Total Rewards (compensation) should be reviewed to ensure you are paying appropriately for the newly required skill sets. What is your organization's compensation philosophy – does it need to change now that you are public? A review of your current Benefits Plan should also be conducted. This includes reviewing the core benefits, the optional benefits, pension plans, etc. Will you now offer stock options to the staff? And don't forget that as a public entity, you will be required to make disclosures of earnings for certain executives in your organization.
Policies and Procedures – a total review of your organization's policies & procedures should be conducted to determine if you are following best practices and whether any of your past practices as a private entity will need to be changed as you go public.
As you embark on the journey to determine whether to go public, don't forget to think about your people and include your Human Capital group in the discussions. There are numerous people issues that must be taken into consideration when making this decision.
To learn more about Going Public from a People Perspective, please contact Leslie Dornan, Director – MNP Consulting Services.
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