When companies merge, the acquiring company gains an enormous edge in talent. Though any merger causes anxiety around the issue of redundancy, employees actually benefit from the process: Employees of the acquired company are offered new opportunities that could never be possible at their former company. Those of the acquiring company, meanwhile, have the chance to benefit from new products, processes, talents, accounts, and a plethora of other benefits that are part of the reason the target company was acquired.
Convincing employees at both organizations that the merger helps everyone is key. When the newly-acquired employees come on board, it’s important to make them feel at home. They should never feel like strangers in a strange land, but accomplishing this requires setting the expectations of both sets of employees before the new employees start.
Clarify and communicate the Important Changes
Change is part of any merger process. The purpose is to build a stronger organization by merging two companies that complement each other. For the employees gained from the merger to thrive in their new environment, they must understand the important changes they need to make in order for the merger to succeed.
Michael Schrage, a research fellow at the MIT School of Business, explains, in a Harvard Business Review article, that before a merger is even completed, both sides need to ask themselves, how will each side need to adjust to the other?
For example, will the acquired team need to collaborate across the enterprise? Employees from smaller firms may be unaccustomed to the chain of command and bureaucratic structures of larger organizations. Must the new employees embrace certain corporate practices and protocols? Are these drastically different? If new employees must adapt to substantial changes in workflow, expectations, and management style, before merging, management should ask itself if that much change is realistic. Is the merger a good fit?
If it is, new employees need to adapt. Helping them thrive involves first making them understand the operational, organizational, and cultural values they must embrace. Convincing them to accept these changes is a matter of showing how these changes are opportunities, rather than compromises.
When the new employees feel they have been handed a golden opportunity, they tend to have a positive attitude toward the merger. Though they must adapt to the new company’s environment, it’s also important for the new company to adapt to them in return. After all, the purpose of the merger was to benefit from the acquired company’s abilities, and the acquiring company can learn valuable things from its newly acquired pool of talent.