An acquisition by WPP Group left employees of Y&R—an independent advertising agency—feeling anxious and unsure about the strategy and future of their company.  Departures of talented employees led to a general malaise that affected the staff worldwide.  The CEO needed to quickly engage and focus the employees on the new business strategy.


Employees of Y&R were extremely devoted to their independent and succesful brand.  Acquisition by a large, global conglomerate left staffers feeling fearful, unappreciated and undervalued.  They were skeptical about management assurances regarding the new operations model, and the future of Y&R.


We worked with the CEO and Global Communications Director to develop a strategy for reducing employee anxieties around the acqusition and engaging the workforce to remain focused on providing excellent client service and winning new accounts.  Here’s what we did:


  Got Inside the Employees’ Heads

  - met with CEO and department heads for “leadership views” on operational issues

  - conducted brief, multi-lingual online survey of global staff to assess post-merger attitudes

  - worked with WPP Group HR executives to understand the business integration plans

  - presented research findings with Y&R Global Operating Committee


  Developed an Integrated Communication Plan

 -  identified key areas of employee concerns and worked with CEO to formulate responses

 -  produced CEO newsletter, “Straight Talk,” to directly address concerns, action plans

 -  provided online Q&A for employees on key issues

 -  held Town Hall Meetings for staff to air grievances, ask questions and “get connected”


- employees appreciated perception survey and communication efforts by leadership

- staff and client attrition slowed and sales teams have been increasingly winning new business

- management illustrated how link to WPP complemented Y&R’s creative and award-winning heritage

- “Straight Talk” was well-received and had become communication vehicle of choice by Y&R leadership


© 2016 by Zero Gravity Group LLC