The role of technology in merger and acquisition communications
Est. Read Time: 3 min.
I recently read a few intriguing articles around how merger and acquisition (M&A) success hinges on people and the importance of communicating to employees throughout the merger or acquisition process. The two articles touched on how both acquirees and acquirers often experience significant communication breakdowns to their employees prior to, during, and after the M&A. Global M&A hit a 17 year record high in the first quarter of 2018.
Clearly, M&A is a critical strategy for many organizations, but for employees this can be one of the most uncertain times in their careers. That’s not to say that HR and leadership can’t deliver a great employee experience before, during and after a merger or acquisition. Take it from someone who is currently going through an acquisition.
Leadership and HR’s role in communicating with employees, reinforcing the shared vision of both organizations, and general candor and openness has a huge impact on employee morale, commitment to the organization, positivity and productivity. With the right technology, HR can enable timely, personalized communication with different employee populations within the organization. In this article, we will look at two ways technology can help smooth the M&A process for employees.
Stay ahead of the rumor mill with early, personalized merger and acquisition communications
Obviously there needs to be some discretion in the early stages of M&A talks, but leaders and HR need to work together to ensure they have communication plans and processes in place to give the right information to the right employees, at the right time. New digital tools enable HR to deliver timely, personalized messages on any device to all existing employees and employees entering the firm.
Employees need on-demand answers to top-of-mind acquisition questions. Throughout all levels of an organization, employees will be asking questions like, will my benefits change? And, what is the new company’s policy on working remotely? Providing employees with on-demand answers in a knowledge portal to their questions and concerns will keep them productive, engaged and confident in their place in the company’s future.
Strengthen company culture with consistent, transparent communication
Your company culture is a huge part of how you attract and retain talent, why your customers love you and how you got to where you are today. Company culture can be considered just as, or even more, important to candidates than compensation. It also can be a reason for employees to look for career growth opportunities within their current organization instead of outside of it. While a company’s culture may often be overlooked and undervalued compared to other factors contributing to M&A decisions, cultural fit can make or break a deal. According to a McKinsey survey, 25% of executives said that the absence of a “cultural fit” was the key reason why a merger failed.
It’s rare that two firms involved in a merger or acquisition will be a 100% perfect match in terms of company culture, but this shouldn’t be looked at as an obstacle to overcome. It’s important for HR and organizational leaders to recognize differences in company culture and seize the opportunity to incorporate new initiatives that will excite your workforce.
In successful acquisitions, HR takes the time to sit down with the company they are acquiring to learn about their culture and what makes them unique, and see what makes sense to incorporate into the existing organization. The same can be said for HR in the acquired company, who needs to learn about the new organization so they can send the right messaging to the employees. Once these decisions are made, HR can then easily communicate this back to the organization so employees know what changes to expect, what the company message is, and can feel secure with their changing environment.
Delivering timely and relevant communication to employees during a merger or acquisition is paramount to integrating two companies and their cultures successfully. HR’s role in this process can make all the difference to ensure employees remain productive, engaged and excited about the potential of their new company.
To learn more about how HR can contribute to the success of an M&A, check out our new eBook, HR’s Role in Mergers and Acquisitions: How HR Can Smooth Time to Value, Smooth Integration and Mitigate Risk.
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About Shane McCarthy
Shane McCarthy is a global Product Marketer at PeopleDoc, Inc. He writes and speaks about HR service delivery, HR technology, and PeopleDoc, Inc. Prior to PeopleDoc, Shane worked as a marketing strategist for a leading maritime software company. Shane holds a Bachelors of Arts and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. He loves his New York sports teams, even if they don't love him back most of the time.