Rarely does a merger or acquisition take place without stress on the part of the employees. A transaction will always result in some overlap in employees’ responsibilities, which can cause a ripple effect of action that’s hard to control. Rumors start about the safety of people’s jobs. Due to the uncertainty, some might start a job search. Others will grow frustrated as management changes and everything gets figured out (and their new roles defined). Amid all the change, this can create chaos in your organization.
What can your company do during the process of combining entities to minimize tensions and make everyone’s jobs easier? Here are a few suggestions:
Communicate effectively with employees. At the very top of the list of important tasks is to communicate with your entire team of people. Your senior leadership team might not have all the answers immediately, but leaving people in the dark creates a very uncomfortable atmosphere in the office. Instead, embrace transparency. Once the transaction has closed, be organized in your communications about what is happening and when, and be as honest as possible about everything that people care about:
- The timing and details of the transaction announcement externally
- Goals and objectives going forward
- Changes to compensation or benefits
- Other impacts
- Objectives (and how the company intends to achieve them along the way)
Get buy in early. Who are the “influencers” at the companies you are bringing together? They might be managers and leaders, but they could be others too. Harvard Business Review puts it like this: “…these informal influencers wield more power to shape organizational change acceptance, often through influence, intelligence, networking abilities, or simply the respect they hold within company ranks.” You need to give people opportunities to connect in person if possible and get them involved in the discussions about how to go forward. Take their ideas seriously.
Get the accounting teams on the same page. There’s no doubt about it: the accounting personnel from the acquiree will be asked to provide a lot of information to those from the acquiring company. Disparate systems and charts of accounts will make this painful for a while until the financial systems are integrated, so again, it’s important to communicate thoroughly to both accounting teams. Do your best to create a “we” (vs. “us and them”) as soon as possible. Make sure the reasons behind the additional asks for granular reporting are clear. It will take time for the new consolidated requirements to become clearly defined. Patience is important.
Bring in support. TGRP Solutions can help your business during the challenging time of an M&A integration. We know how difficult it can be to merge different organizations successfully and the frustration it can cause among employees. One of the biggest challenges is that people suddenly have a lot more on their plates in addition to the work they have always done. It makes sense to bring in experts who can keep your day-to-day operations running smoothly and know how to make your merger or acquisition a success.
TGRP’s consulting team can help you through the post-merger transition to properly integrate your processes and people. We can augment your staff to minimize disruptions to the business as you focus on combining as quickly as possible, but we can offer other support as well like system integration and business process optimization. Contact us to learn about our consulting team’s expertise and how we can support your M&A integration.