Managing Employees in a Pharmacy Sale

By Colony RX

Dealing with employees when you are selling your pharmacy does not need to be stressful or contentious. At Colony RX, we understand that this is often the most sensitive issue for the seller, and we handle it with the utmost care.

Managing Employees pharmacy sale

One reason that this is so sensitive for pharmacy sellers is because they are not only the boss, but also a coworker who has worked side by side with pharmacy staff. Over time, this may have lead to a blurring of lines between boss and friend and nobody likes to put have a power imbalance with their friends.

The largest concern employees have is for their continued employment. With Colony RX, every staff member is guaranteed employment. In fact, what we have found is that employees are relieved when we back up our promise of employment with a written employment contract. Written contracts are tangible proof to employees that their employment is secure and it gives employees confidence that we value their contribution to the store.

Second to this, we have found that the next greatest concern of pharmacy employees is continuation of the “perks” that have been provided in the past. For example, paid statutory holidays, vacation days, task assignments, control over hours, etc. At Colony RX, all of these things are controlled at the store level, and in virtually all cases, we have kept things consistent with what the seller has done in the past.

All employees will be brought into the process within 2-3 weeks before the transition is expected to close. By this point, the substantive issues in the transaction are mostly resolved, and the lawyers are finalizing the paperwork. If a seller is really nervous about the process, we can be present when they are told and lead the conversation. Or we can come a few days after an announcement to meet the employees. We are flexible and defer to the seller.

When we meet with employees, the tone is upbeat and honest. Both the buyer and seller reinforce the message that the sale decision was based on shared values. Having a happy and comfortable staff, a cohesive team and a trustworthy environment is the paramount concern for us at Colony.

Once the news is out, it is good to allow the employees some time to let it sink in. They will inevitably discuss it amongst themselves, and if any questions arise, both the seller and buyer are available. We often schedule one-on-one meetings to answer any questions and further reassure them.

When a store buyer meets employees, everyone has qualms; the seller is afraid the buyer is going to let the employees go (although this never happens) and the buyer is afraid that the employees fear for their jobs (although they should not when Colony is the buyer). In all of the transactions we have done, we have never seen employees react badly to meeting us, we have never had an employee quit, and we have never found an employee to be “redundant”. When it comes to employees, as the expression goes, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” In fact, the new owner depends on the knowledge and experience of the employees far more than the previous owner because we have yet to learn the business. At Colony RX, we understand the central value of the employees and will ensure that everyone comes together as a team after the transaction is complete.

In fact, at Colony RX, we believe that good employees are our best asset. The most significant way we differentiate our pharmacies and build patient loyalty is by hiring (and keeping) good staff.

Image: leaf / 123RF Stock Photo