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How to Address Acquired Employees After an Acquisition

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April 18, 2019

The transition period after an acquisition can disrupt employees’ sense of stability and confidence in the company. Workloads increase and roles shift. Employees are expected to adapt to new procedures, processes and policies but may lack the support they need to grow with the fast-paced changes.

Without open communication, employees end up working with new supervisors or bosses that know next to nothing about their goals or track record. After an acquisition, some 30 percent of employees are sadly determined to be redundant.

Now is the time to encourage these employees to see this change as advantageous to revolutionize their career and resume by remaining with the company.  Here is how you should address new employees after a merger and acquisition, focusing on culture, communication and connection.

Culture

When one company acquires another, the culture of the acquired business typically gets swallowed similarly to Pac-Man gobbling up the Pac-Dots and a few of those pesky ghosts, too.

Think of the dots as the bullet points of positive work culture existing in the acquired business. You want to keep those. You want to get rid of the ghosts. You do not want bad policies, rumors and resentments to haunt the forward motion of the business after the acquisition. At the same time, you have to choose one culture. You can also acquire the positives of the culture while making improvements for the acquired employees according to their feedback.

Do not leave employees out of the loop. Co-create a new culture together or risk breeding distrust. Around the time the deal is finalized, you should also create a solid communication plan.

 

Communication 

The essential component of a successful transition is active listening. Any post-M&A communication plan should contain an employee survey, but lines of communication must extend beyond a few keyboard strokes and fill in the blank questionnaires.

Concerns and questions will continue throughout the transition. Prompt and frequent communication is necessary. Acquired employees must know that their opinions and expertise are valued. You also receive important data that helps you to guide these employees to business goals and projects that are meaningful and valuable for all, reducing the risk of turnover. Checking in during the transition will help you check the “temperature” of the budding work culture. Acquired employees will feel heard and valued and build trust.

So, what do you put on an employee survey? On a ten-point scale of completely disagree to completely agree, you may include statements such as:

  • I clearly understand the reasons for the acquisition, and these reasons were effectively communicated to me.  
  • I know how and where to locate information and educational resources regarding the acquisition.
  • I have seen coworkers come together to make this transition successful and support each other.
  • Outside departments collaborate with our team positively and effectively.
  • My workload is reasonable for my role during the transition.
  • I feel included in decisions that affect my role and the future of the company.
  • I am confident in completing my duties and in the training and support that I am receiving.
  • I feel secure in my role.

Along with the survey, include basic support information about performance reviews, benefits, compensation reviews and any changes to time off. Supply a timeline with specifics.

You will gain a sense for how the employees feel about the future of their roles. Supervisors should check back in with their team and make adjustments accordingly. At this time, you can signal that growth opportunities are on the horizon to offer reassurance.

 

Connection 

Most importantly, cultivating a sense of connection will offset the potential adverse effects of an acquisition. Employee responses and open lines of communication will reveal details and data that you can optimize for future success, direct from your best asset — the company talent.  

Provide on-boarding, team building, career training and recognition systems for acquired employees. Offer up ways for all employees to bond and form a connection with each other.

During transition, acquired employees are left wondering if their position will still be relevant. Will they be recognized for their past and future successes or become just another cog in the corporate machine? Will they be accepted?

During the transition after a business acquisition, addressing your acquired employees’ basic needs is essential to construct a foundation of confidence and trust. Focus on culture, communication and connection to create a positive experience.

Schedule a consultation with Sun Acquisitions today for assistance in forming an M&A communication plan, and ensure a smooth and successful transition.

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