Successful mergers start with engaged tenants
Wednesday 3rd of August 2016
Jenny Osbourne, Tpas Chief Executive
I've often argued on principle that tenants should be involved when landlords set up to mergers, group structures and partnerships. As merger activity hots up its about time we highlighted the good practical reasons too. We held two round tables for involved tenants to discuss these big corporate changes last month and three things struck me.
First, involved tenants have loads of insider experience of big corporate changes. Their recollections of how they were managed, what consequences followed and the keys to success will be really valuable for staff and tenants who are currently embarking on mergers and collapsing group structures.
Second, chief executives build great respect from involving tenants early in the process. Early engagement can influence the feel of the resulting organisation at a time when staff and boards might be focused on other details, and it can help to build support for a process that could otherwise be dogged by those who are concerned or worried by the changes.
Third, tenants can play an important role in holding landlords to account for delivery of the stated aims of the change. It has often been commented that landlords have not driven out the value of increased scale, but tenants are great at checking and challenging performance especially when it comes to efficiency and service quality. Building on this capacity could really improve the outcomes of changes to corporate structures.
I'm very grateful to all the tenants who gave up their time to come to our discussions. Our notes are being fed into a project called Form Follows Function, which is producing some guidance to help landlords do mergers, group structure changes and partnerships well. One of its main aims is about helping landlords to put tenants and their needs at the heart of any changes made.
Some readers may have completed an online survey which is part of this project, and I'd like to thank everyone for doing that. I've seen the early responses and they're very informative. There's a bit more time to respond to the survey if you'd like to, and I'd encourage you to express your views to inform the guidance.