Magazine article Communication World

A More Perfect Union: Don't Lose Sight of Your Employees during an M&A Deal

Magazine article Communication World

A More Perfect Union: Don't Lose Sight of Your Employees during an M&A Deal

Article excerpt

I've read study after study that points out that most merger and acquisition deals fail because of integration plans that don't measure up. Executives know that there can be a big return on investment when companies do this well, but internal coordination and communication often leave something to be desired. So, for most M&A teams, a smooth integration stage is as much of a myth as unicorns in the forest.

Now, while I don't believe in unicorns, I do believe that integration can make magic--when it's done right. Here are five ways to deliver the type of magic that will produce amazing results for your company.

Celebrate the union. From the very start, point out to both newly hired and existing employees how exciting the union of the two companies is and what they can do together. Consider using some of your budget to host a party that demonstrates how exciting this deal is for everyone who has made it happen and for everyone who will work together to take the business to entirely new heights.

Turn integration into a cause. Should you plan an effective integration that outlines every detail? Of course. But here's a secret: Humans are social beings, and they are more willing to work together to achieve something great than we often plan for. So bring people together. Offer up the plans detailed by the M&A team, and get input from the people they affect. Why? Because when you spend more time up front, you spend less time cleaning up if the plans fall apart in the middle and end of the process. In essence, if you ask for help from your employees, those who have a stake in the game, you will find great success and improve your M&A ROI--fast.

Make every communication a special event. People want to know they are special, that they matter, and that the company puts time and energy into caring for them. Demonstrate that care not by making plans but by giving attention, making sure that there are relatively few hiccups (we know there will be a few) and that leaders are visible and approachable. …

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