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Getting people issues right in successful M&A’s

Mergers are a stressful time in the life of a company for both executives and employees as a whole. Fear of what the merger means for them and their future often leads to major distractions for your team. This uncertainty has the potential to pull their attention away from your business objectives and can ultimately put your overall business at risk. These new company dynamics will have a marked impact on the success of the merger or acquisition.

What to do

One of the most important things you can do in this situation is to anticipate this response. Know that your workplace will be tense and employees will be focusing on the internal politics of the new company. These dynamics require you to be especially proactive about your corporate culture.
The behavior of leaders and managers is paramount during this period. Also critical, is the cultural tone the managers and leaders set for the new organization. They serve as the front line in creating an open and welcoming environment. Inevitably, some leaders will inherit a combination of employees from both the organizations.

During a merger or acquisition, your company culture will be redefined, whether you like it or not.

In this mixed environment, it is critical for leaders to treat the new staff in the same manner as the ones that have been on the team for years. The integration of the two organizations is a unique opportunity to establish the new organizations values and set the tone from the top.
During a merger or acquisition, your company culture will be redefined, whether you like it or not. It is important to effectively manage the process and not leave it to chance. Having a clear cultural and employee training program is one of the smartest steps you can take. By being proactive about working to create a positive culture, you can fill the culture vacuum and increase the likelihood of blending the companies into one cohesive entity.
If your training involves classroom learning, be intentional about not only choosing who takes the class, but who takes it together. Mix individuals from the old and new company as a way to create new bonds. An effective training program will allow employees to lower their guard and be honest, which makes it easier to develop connections.

Now more than ever

The times leading up to and directly after a merger are the most critical phases in terms of success. This is the moment when everything can work as planned and the core culture of the new company will be created. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when things can go horribly wrong, and the deal can implode. More than ever, this is when you will need to rely on a strong company culture.

The big picture

The focused effort required for a smooth merger is built on the things you should be doing all the time. During a merger or acquisition, the needs are just more acute. Positive behaviors, like creating a welcoming environment and having an open door policy have real benefits. These steps are how to cultivate a healthy corporate culture in general, but they’re critical during a merger or acquisition.

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