Change is a regular and essential part of running a hospitality business, and after selling yours, one of the best things you can do is ensure a seamless transition for your staff to the new owners. How you prepare your employees before the official handover will make all the adjustments easier for everyone involved.
It can be a stressful time for existing employees with the unknown ahead of them, and some may not react positively to the change – some may lose motivation or even go so far as to resign. Supporting them and preparing them for the transition will help ease any concerns they may have, and let the business continue to grow and expand with its new owners.
When and what to tell your staff
When selling your hospitality business it’s important to keep tight-lipped until negotiations with the buyer are final and all documents have been signed. Sale transactions can be volatile so should remain confidential until those signatures have been provided. Once the sale is finalised approach your staff confidently and with as much transparency as possible. They need to hear about the change from you, not from the ‘grapevine’, because disaffected employees are the last thing you want to deal with during the transition phase.
It’s equally necessary to clearly explain the reasons for selling your hospitality business, what the process of the sale will be, how long it will take, and who the new owners will be. You may have developed a good working relationship with your staff, so they could very well feel uncomfortable about dealing with new management. The changeover may also affect their feelings of employment security.
Keep communication open and transparent
Avoid being secretive, and answer all their questions honestly; if your staff ask about job security, assure them they will not lose their jobs and that you trust your successors to keep the transition process as smooth as possible. Inform them much care was taken throughout the sale to ensure the new owner is capable of continuing the business. Employees will take time to process all the information, and may have follow up questions over the course of days or weeks, so assure them you’re still in control of day-to-day operations until official handover day.
The reality is that the new owner will need almost all your employees to keep things running smoothly and generate a profit, so it’s important to keep staff excited about working for someone new. Reiterate that change is a good thing for everyone involved, and the new owner may bring an increased financial strength to the business.
Stick around post-sale
Acting as an intermediary between your staff and the new owner can be incredibly positive during the handover. Try to plan to stay around for as long as can be negotiated with the buyer so that everyone knows about new processes and continues with current ones. Your familiar presence will give everyone confidence in their future.
Sooner or later you will have to tell your employees about the impending sale of your hospitality business, but being prepared and keeping all communication lines open will be what ensures positive and seamless outcomes for you, the new owner and all your employees.