Employee Protection Pre-IPO or Sale-Knowing Your “Options”
July 22, 2014
A company’s biggest strength during an IPO or sale is exploiting the fear on the unknown to manipulate employees through pathological lies, threats and intimidation under The Sociopathic Business Model™. The goal to to create hopelessness in the employees, so they’ll fall in line and do as they’re told. Most reps (and managers) are not all that familiar with this market and that’s by design.
The reality is that once fear is removed from any equation via fact based evidence this allows the employees a unique opportunity to negotiate better terms. Using your power at the 11th hour is every employee’s greatest strength and every executive’s worst fear.
Let’s look at the facts and all possible outcomes:
This exercise is the opposite of creating fear it’s to create empowerment for employees. The reality is that a company at this stage of the game 1. Could not afford to replace the entire salesforce or management team (they are invaluable to the execution of either a sale or IPO) 2. Any disruption in the hypergrowth sales model threatens either outcome 3. This creates the opportunity to leverage for better employee outcomes (the window of opportunity is brief and requires full team support).
Is your product unique enough to stand on its own or does it work better as an adjunct with other products? It’s great that everyone may want to take your product to prom but it doesn’t mean she’d be Miss America if she went it on her own.
Look at the market, did any of the potential suitors recently cut territories or add reps? It may indicate a sign of things to come. The worst thing any employee (including managers) can do at this time is let ego get in the way of facts and drink too much of the proverbial Kool-Aid. Protect yourself because the VC’s won’t. Mistakes in the process are made all the time and the best thing to do is admit it and work towards a solution. No one wins until everyone wins!
Let’s keep in mind some the ususal tactics to look out for:
Rarely challenged and prefer to work that way -Asking questions to clarify a situation should always be met with honesty and an eagerness to expose the facts. If that’s not happening it’s a red flag. Again, managers are often put in the situation to pacify employees–just keep in mind that all accomplices eventually become victims (management included-ask around).
Again companies count on being able to manipulate management into doing their bidding whom often recognize too late they were also a pawn in the game. The sooner the signs are identified and the truth is exposed the better for all employees.
Salary in this situation would be based off of W-2’s and not base salary (which is traditionally done if a company is sold.) Employees are given a severance package off of base salary and not base + commission. Leverage your options (or lack of in some cases) to the greatest employee benefit-don’t expect anyone else to do it for you.