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Mergers and acquisitions bring a great opportunity for businesses to grow and to maximise their wealth potential. When two companies combine to make one, this is known as a merger. An acquisition is when one company takes over another. But, no matter if you are dealing with a merger or an acquisition there must be an implementation strategy in place to manage the workforces. When integration is poorly managed without sufficient planning and design this will impact negatively on the entire process.
Exciting times ahead, or are they?
A time of growth brings a lot of excitement; many employees will be thrilled with the news and see new potential areas for development on a personal level. But, there will always be individuals who fear change and see the merger or acquisition as a threat.
The implementation strategy must take everyone’s unique feelings into consideration. Holding a strategic workshop with a HR involvement early on in the process can help define how you integrate the new businesses and determine how you will manage the people issues.
Let’s take a closer look at how some employees may be feeling:
It’s no surprise that many people are anxious as the news of a merger or acquisition is only ever announced once all contracts have been signed and the deals have been finalised. There’s no time to get used to the idea or mentally prepare for the changes ahead, and this immediate disruption is always going to be unsettling.
Selfishness is a natural coping strategy for those who feel threatened. When an employee experiencing uncertainty in their future they may resort to only consider themselves and show disregard to their colleagues.
Mergers and acquisitions may result in individuals changing teams, changing job roles or even relocating. Saying goodbye to trusted colleagues can be extremely upsetting for many employees and will impact their psychological health.
This feeling is more common during an acquisition when one company takes over another. There are no winners or losers, but for some, the opportunity to gloat may be too strong. This unpleasant trait will cause upset to the employees being brought in who may already be feeling unsettled.
Don’t allow these feeling to spiral
If you’ve read our blogs previously, you will know that one of our favourite phrases here at P3 People Management is to ‘nip things in the bud’. When negative emotions rule in a business, productivity decreases and working relationships can deteriorate. Managing a situation before it gets out of hand is always easier to deal with.
Communication is king
To help all employees cope with the changes, the key action to take is to communicate.
Compiling a FAQ document is a great idea. It will not only demonstrate that you are listening to your workforces, but it will share and provide answers to common concerns. Keep listening and keep updating the list.
Create and share a timeline of events so the employees understand when the next move will happen. Keeping them in the know will help to relieve some of the stress.
Putting new structures in place
It’s extremely important to put a new organisational structure in place soon after the announcement of the merger or acquisition. This will not only stop your key people from being poached from your competitors, but create some much-needed stability.
In addition to looking after the most important asset of any business you must also think practically too:
It’s clear to see that the implementation of such a huge change is extremely complex. Working with HR professionals to provide support and advice will make all the difference to its success.
If you are planning for, or already going through a merger or acquisition, do call us to talk through your plans on 0161 941 2426.
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