Navigating a business merger or acquisition without impacting employee productivity

Few people enjoy change but in business, change is inevitable. Perhaps one of the most significant  and fundamental changes that can occur at any business is a merger or acquisition. These come in all shapes and sizes and can (in the long run) prove incredibly beneficial to both the company and its employees. In the short term, however, it can be incredibly disruptive to employee productivity if the right precautions have not been taken and the change is not approached in the right way.

 That’s why we’ve decided to take a pragmatic and positive approach to the world of mergers and acquisitions and layout our tenants for navigating those waters calmly and safely.

 Be aware– There are three primary reasons why a company will get acquired:  Either it’s seen as a threat by a larger competitor, they offer a speedy path to growth for that company or the smaller company is thriving in a new industry or segment in which the larger company wants to get involved. As the incumbent company or recently sold startup, you must be aware of the reasons why you’re being acquired or why the merger is happening.

 Focus on the positives – By its nature, the word “acquisition” conjures up all manner of negative thoughts and feelings. Ignore this and instead try to focus on the positives. You’re not being “acquired,” you’re “combining forces.” Any successful merger or acquisition should be about balance – taking what’s best about the smaller and larger companies and fusing them together without losing what makes each siloed operation so unique.

 Hire some help– If you’ve never dealt with the intricacies and potential pitfalls of a merger before then it might be worth investing in someone who is, at least whilst the business is undergoing such a significant change. A transformation director is a temporary manager that can step in to guide your business through its transition with a fresh perspective and help steady the ship whilst the waters around it are raging. Note that during a merger or acquisition there is also often staff losses to contend with, so an interim manager could really help plug that gap.

Take your time– The old adage that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” has never been more apt than when discussing mergers and acquisitions. Integration is not going to happen overnight and there are bound to be missteps taken along the long road to positive symbiosis. This is particularly true if  you’re dealing with an innovative new technology or a completely new business sector. Nothing worth having came quickly and easily and until the acquirers and those being acquired stop seeing each other as “us and them” there are going to be tough times. Stick with it, however, and it will always be worth the effort in the long run.

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