Implementing European restructuring

Implementing European restructuring, Pharma group, Europe, 3500 employees.

  • Integration exercise after a takeover, at European level
  • The European HQ in Belgium are moved to Switzerland
  • There will also be a restructuring in 6 support services
  • The group management has no experience at all with such an exercise
  • 12 countries are involved in the restructuring
  • All legal obligations must be strictly observed
  • Synchronization of the announcement is a critical success factor


  • Several work sessions with the integration team show that the company has no experience whatsoever with an integration process and all the related legal and social aspects.


  • Square Circle is appointed as the driving force of the entire integration plan at European level (12 countries involved) for industrial relations, communication, people, change and crisis management.


  • Preparation of a Road Map Masterplan based on our Road Map tool for restructuring.
  • Allows you to prepare and monitor all aspects of the integration exercise.
  • On this basis, we involve the local HR to draw up their own Road Map under the supervision of Square Circle.
  • Organised approx. 80 work sessions to draw up and monitor the entire plan.
  • Gave approx. 30 trainings on dealing with change, communication in difficult times across Europe and communicating convincingly.
  • SQC organises the Social Crisis Masterclass in 3 potentially critical countries.


  • Announcement went perfectly according to plan
  • Social relationships have not been harmed. Much care has been taken to ensure transparency and to maintain confidence in the preparation of the restructuring.
  • Information and consultations with trade unions went smoothly in all countries where these procedures had to be followed.
  • The integration team and management have identified the approach as the main success factor in the successful integration.
  • The integration went according to plan.
  • Uncertainty among employees is kept to a minimum.
  • Management has also emerged stronger.

Improving overall performance

Improving overall performance, Temp agency, Belgium, 600 employees.

  • In a declining market (economic crisis) staying profitable by making maximal use of the internal potential of the company.
  • Involving employees in this as a driver of creativity and added value.
  • Proving to the group that the Belgian subsidiary is able to evolve, even in a difficult market.
  • This will allow future investments to flow from the group to Belgium in order to strengthen the position of the company.


CEO came into contact with socio-economic (SEAM) approach at another company where he was an independent director.

Horizontal and vertical diagnostics provide the following analysis:

1.High potential for hidden economic performance

2.Structural trouble spots between Sales and Support services that are paralysing

3.HQ employees lack commitment

4.Management is not really managing the employees

5.Training courses are of good quality but are not being used

6.Available tools and software could be used much more efficiently

7.Much enthusiasm among employees to participate in changes if management evolves


  • Approach in steps
    Step 1: 2 business units + HQ
    Step 2: the 2 other business units
    Step 3: Agencies.
  • Calculation of the economic potential of energy optimisation
  • Action plans by and for employees to tackle energy loss step-by-step
  • SEAM tool used to activate the implementation of the strategy to all staff through priority action plans at all levels
  • Provided training on management tools to better manage employees
  • Training of internal “operators” to perpetuate the SEAM approach within the company


  • Year 1 after the approach: company grows 8% (profit) while the market performs -2%, higher sales thanks to better and closer collaboration between teams and employees
  • Hidden costs (energy loss) converted into economic added value: € 4.9 million
  • Approach has led to a new organisational structure to better manage BUs
  • Renewal in the management of the BUs has brought a breath of fresh air
  • Company now has a management approach for continuously adapting to market evolutions
  • Decision to further leverage SEAM to develop future potential

Increasing productivity SME

Increasing productivity SME, 12 employees.

Stress generated by difficult working conditions (open landscape) causes a backlog in files, demotivation, complaints from customers

  • The office is unstable, good employees are leaving.
  • High costs of new hires.
  • Office is not ready to evolve.
  • Danger of losing customers.
  • Negative spiral


  • Average time lost due to inability to concentrate is calculated at 2 hours/day/6 employees. 2,760 hours on an annual basis (= 1.6 FTE)
  • Disruption caused not only by open landscape but also a notary who is constantly coming in and interrupting employees.
  • File backlog for 2 employees is also linked to poor knowledge of the software. Additional loss of time of 8 hours per month/person
  • No dialogue to vent personal concerns, this is not part of the “culture” of the office.
  • Managing Director not aware of the difficulties and frustrations of employees.


    • Socio-Economic Approach to Management (SEAM) for SMEs.
      Structured “focus time” for all employees introduced by the colleagues themselves.
    • Employees can work undisturbed for several blocks of 3 hours a week.
    • Colleagues also make clear agreements of rights and obligations for using focus time
    • Introduction of daily structured check-in moments for discussion of files and personal matters, in consultation with employees.
    • Managing Director no longer interrupts.
    • Communication and feedback are stimulated
    • Training “in house” by the best software expert


      • Measurement after 8 months
      • 70% lost time has been regained (1,932 hours/year = 1.1 FTE).
      • General stress is gone, employees feel a noticeable improvement in their working conditions and job satisfaction.The notary experiences the positive aspects of the dialogue.
      • Difficult files are now also handled during focus time, fewer errors and faster processing (customer satisfaction).
      • There is more attention for the quality of the files and a more anticipatory approach is taken.

      Employees are now involved in defining problems and solutions.
      Work is being done in a more structured way, which makes things calmer at the office