Enhancing a company’s growth through corporate mergers and acquisitions (M&A) with the expertise of colleagues from the HR departments: That is the central idea of a new international training program introduced by Bertelsmann University. The “HR in M&A” program recently ended with the conclusion of the fourth and final training module in Baden-Baden. Employees from Arvato Solution Groups Financial Solutions, SCM Solutions and Digital Marketing from Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and the U.S. had participated in the program that stretched over the course of a year.
The idea behind it was to give HR colleagues integrative, comprehensive training on the topic of mergers & acquisitions so that they can provide professional support in the “inorganic” growth process. Participants were taught not only about the basics of M&A, but were also familiarized with the latest research and developments in the field, as well as being provided with tools that they themselves could implement during different stages of a merger.
Developed specifically for Bertelsmann
The “HR in M&A” training consisted of four two-day modules. Experts from London and Vienna were responsible for the training content, which was developed specifically for Bertelsmann under the lead management of Bertelsmann University. However, what made this program especially unique was that beyond the theoretical knowledge, practical field reports from the Bertelsmann M&A world were an integral part of the program’s curriculum. In “fireside talks”, experienced Bertelsmann colleagues including; Ralf Süllwald (Senior Vice President Corporate Legal in Corporate Center), Jörn Caumanns (Head of M&A in Corporate Center), Steven Moran (Chief Learning Officer at Bertelsmann), Frank Steinert (Chief Human Resources Officer at Penguin Random House in New York), Elias Reitter (Chief Financial Officer Arvato Financial Solutions) and Martina Mönninghoff (Vice President of Bertelsmann University) shared their experiences in dealing with M&A projects in the Bertelsmann world, and also spoke to participants about their first hand involvement.
“No two M&A projects are the same,” says Frank Steinert, who supported one of Bertelsmann’s largest M&A projects – the merger of Penguin and Random House. “Which makes it all the more important that in-house expertise in this field is pooled at Bertelsmann. This training program provided a good forum for participants to gain experience in that exact field, making the knowledge gained from such experiences available to all HR colleagues, and not just those who participated in the program. The intensive and lively exchanges that frequented the dialogue of the program are proof that these types of training exercises need to exist within the company.”
Enabling future interaction, as well
Furthermore, the participants who had completed the training were incredibly enthusiastic about the program. Matthias Senft, Director of Bertelsmann University, says: “Our assignment was to give the HR colleagues involved in M&A projects comprehensive, expert and well-founded support. Based on the feedback of the participants and the clients, we’ve succeeded in doing this with the training. I’m especially pleased with the fact that we have enabled future exchanges on the subject of M&A as well, by creating a new professional community on our collaboration tool ‘Jam’, within the already established HR IT platform ‘peoplenet‘.” After its initial success and a plethora of valuable experiences having been gained by both the participants and the coaches, the program is set to be further developed and offered again in the future. In addition to various other initiatives, this program helps complement the CHRO, Immanuel Hermreck’s strategic HR agenda. (benet)