Managing and supporting employees through mergers

Mergers and acquisitions are significant events for businesses and their employees. Top-level transitions such as these are typically orchestrated by senior management and directors, whilst employees can be left feeling isolated and vulnerable.

Supporting your employees through such a process should be a serious consideration because your people drive your business forward. Neglecting them could have significant repercussions for the deal at hand and operations in general.

How do mergers and acquisitions impact the workforce?

Mergers and acquisitions can cause widespread disruption and tumult in any business environment.

Hints and rumours regarding a potential deal can spark insecurity and stress throughout a workforce over concerns about job security, new management, and changes to workload. These feelings are often felt from top to bottom because anyone can be affected.

The impact this can have on operations may be significant and company culture can quickly dissolve into fear and anxiety. All this can result in decreased productivity, lower morale, and potentially negative consequences for both parties in the top-level organisational talks.

How to support employees through the process

Effectively managing and supporting workforces on both sides of the merger is essential to ensure that any detrimental impacts are kept to a minimum. Here are a few ways to do that effectively:

Transparency and communication

In any period of change in business, transparency and clear communication from senior management to everyone are crucial in maintaining trust and managing expectations.

Any changes that are confirmed should be professionally and explicitly communicated to ease concerns and avoid rumination throughout the workforce. Employees who feel as if they are part of the process are likely to be much more concentrated on their work rather than trying to figure out what’s going on around them.

Clear strategy and execution

When mergers are implemented, clear strategic direction can help to address cultural differences and aid change management. Corporate law plays a fundamental role in ensuring a smooth transition, so assemble your legal team wisely.

Unifying the objectives and goals of the two different workforces will help to integrate employees and ensure that they know what they are working towards. You must also ensure that fundamentals, such as terms of employment and remuneration, are taken care of to avoid any disparities and issues surrounding them.

Creating a strategy is one element, execution is another. Ensure you have the right people to execute your plans and the right people to make the merger a success.

Don’t neglect employee engagement

Engaging employees from both sides is crucial to ensure that integration runs as smoothly as possible. Cultural shifts require conversation and discussion to ensure everyone has a voice in the matter.

Appoint culture champions to drive positive and collective change, otherwise you can risk losing talent along the way.

Organisations go through a significant change throughout a merger or acquisition, and employees are right at the centre of that. Manage them effectively, keep them informed, and support them through this challenging time and you should get the best out of them on the other side.

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