One of the most taxing periods in the lifecycle of an organization is the process of merging with another company. Bringing two organizations together can be exciting and result in increased opportunities for employees; however uncertainty experienced during the transition process can create stress, fear and frustration.
The impact of the employee experience during an M&A transaction cannot be underestimated. Research shows that negative employee reactions are pervasive in unsuccessful mergers and cultural incompatibility is the number one factor contributing to failures.
Navigating a cultural integration is no simple task. Leaders must instill a strong sense of stability and confidence while building organizational readiness for change. It is a fine balance that can be elusive, even with the most detailed approaches. What can you do to find the sweet spot?
- Reduce uncertainty through a well-managed communications strategy. Uncertainty about the future is the leading cause of unanticipated turnover during mergers and top talent is often the first to leave. Ensure your employees aren’t left to speculate during this critical time.
- Actively manage your reputation. Company reputation is one of the largest and most influential engagement drivers. With over 1 billion Facebook users, more than 250 million LinkedIn and Twitter users and 18 million Glassdoor users, your biggest influencers are your people. Give them the tools to act as brand ambassadors and support your evolving reputation.
- Define Your New EVP – Your employee value proposition must be redefined within the context of the new organization. The employee experience has changed and you need to understand what your employees value in order to foster high levels of engagement and support long term cultural integration.
- Become More Than the Sum of Your Parts – A merger is an amazing opportunity to position the organization as a recognized top employer. Integrating the best features of two companies enables you to create leading people practices and develop significant competitive advantage within your industry. Organizations recognized as Best Workplaces perform three times better than the general market, making top employer status a clear investment in your bottom line.
There will inevitably be a few stumbling blocks in the midst of any merger or acquisition. Keeping the employee experience top of mind and staying focused on the new employer brand will create a strong foundation for cultural and financial success.