During a mergers and acquisitions process things can easily get out of hand and spirits are high especially among employees, because as the old saying goes, “Everyone loves progress, but nobody likes change”. So how are you going to help your employees survive all the commotion?
In a merger, business as usual cannot really apply. When your company is acquired by a bigger one, your days as a leader will be like a roller coaster. Some days you may have to deal with merger and acquisition issues, while other days you’ll have to undertake meetings with your new partners or supervise the integration efforts. This may prove extremely stressful and take a toll on you but, it also provides a dose of excitement. So here are some strategies that may help you “inject” a necessary dose of excitement in your employees as well so that they can feel part of the change that is taking place.
The huge news about a merger or an acquisition may only last so long and so, it will eventually fade. You should avoid rumors from getting out and agitating your employees. Therefore, all you need to do is hypercommunicate. Regardless of the initial response to the acquisition, change is always considered stressful especially when there is an important impact over aspects such as stability, compensation and day-to-day responsibilities. Sending out emails once in a while to the entire company staff cannot really be regarded as helpful communication. Neither are PowerPoints or diatribes. Don’t send out vague emails that leave your employees wondering and analyzing your every word. Instead of doing these mistakes, include the following points:
- Explain to your employees what is the “destination”, when and how are you going to get there.
- Present the current situation to your employees.
- Offer explanations on what aspects are working.
- What aspects you wish would improve soon.
- Try and reach employees through as many channels as possible and be crafty and smart when you’re creating the message. This type of communication should be strategical, like any marketing communication. However, in this instance you are marketing internally to your employees in order to help them have a better grasp of the entire process.
It is a well-known fact that, for your company to constantly improve its products and services, you need to improve as a leader as well. Your core values should be the focal point of your improvement so that the transition runs smoother and without bumps. Gauge on the feelings of your employees and be aware of warning signs that may endanger the company culture. Create simple company wide poles regularly and make sure they remain anonymous. This will prove to be a key-aspect of the transition. The anonymous part is extremely important if you want objective results. You can ask questions such as “How likely are you to recommend working at our company to a colleague or a friend?”. Send the same pole to your employees after three more months and see how the results have changed. Moreover, it is crucial to act on any changes from the earlier responses.
Use software development methodology such as Agile so that breaking up larger development tasks and daily meetings are easier to track. Take meetings on a daily basis to discuss current issues and updates with your top-level managers. From there on the managers can disseminate the information and send it along to the right people to get the job done.