What to Look for in the Data Room

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By Linda Tepedino and Muriel Watkins

The following information—along with a company’s HR policies—can give you a sense of how well-organized and structured an organization is and how decisions are made. This information provides clues about what to include in your integration plan:

How many employees and contractors are there?

What are the salaries for each key position? What are total salaries? Are there any internal inequities? Are there any salaries that are out of sync with the market?

How do benefits plans compare with your company’s plans? Are they more or less generous and expensive? Will you acquire the benefits plans or move employees onto your company’s plans? What are the implications for employees? Profits and losses?

Are there any existing employment agreements? Are there special work arrangements? Will you continue them?

Who is participating in incentive plans? What is the total cost at target? What are the plans based on? What does this say about the organization?

Where are employees currently located? Will employees change locations?

Are salespeople making their goals? How is their incentive plan designed? When was the last significant incentive payment received? How many salespeople have received significant payments? What’s the pattern?

Is the company profitable? Is it paying its bills? Is it reimbursing expenses in a timely way? What are the significant assets of the company?

Are there significant employee events or gatherings?

Are there any outstanding lawsuits, even if they are not HR-related? How might they affect morale within the organization?

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Linda Tepedino is vice president of human resources at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, in Yonkers, N.Y. Muriel Watkins is president of MRW Consulting in Guttenberg, N.J.

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