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The Need to Prep for Change Due to an M&A

When organizations are involved in a M&A (merger and acquisition), preparation to enable employees to adopt the upcoming change is essential. Now, we know that much remains confidential when there are M&A discussions or even in the early stages of a M&A. Other than a handful of leaders, most of the employees in the organizations potentially impacted by the M&A do not know what is being planned.

This does not mean, however, that leadership cannot begin to prepare for the change ahead. Here are some things to consider for organizations involved in M&As in order to prepare for the change that is coming.

  1. The “why” and future vision. Be prepared when the announcement is made to share the why(Why did a M&A occur, what internal and/or external factors contributed to the organizations merging?) and a vision for the merged/acquired organization (What does the future look like?).
  2. Address fears. Inevitably there will be fears around the M&A; people just don’t know what to expect. Much goes through employees’ mind – Will I lose my job? Will I have to move? What will I be doing in the “new” organization? Leaders might brainstorm likely questions that will arise when the M&A is announced and be prepared to address those questions, even if addressing them is simply that leader recognizes the concern and is working on the issue. By the way, this goes for clients also. Consider questions from clients of both organizations and how they will be addressed in a communication.
  3. Get employees involved. Consider who among employees can help champion and support the change. When the M&A is announced, get a group of employees from both organizations involved to continue communications and contribute to working through changes necessary after the M&A. This group – whom I call a Stakeholder Support Committee – can help talk to employees about the change, the impact on the cultures and how to merge them, taking the best of both cultures. They can also bring concerns about the M&A back to leadership and to share information from leadership throughout the organization.

These are just a few ideas to help leaders prepare for a M&A announcement. By planning ahead of time for conversations with staff, leaders are more likely to avoid major disruptions in work due to excessive fear and uncertainty.

Need help planning for change due to an impending M&A or other major restructuring effort in your organization? Contact Abudi Consulting Group to learn how we work with organizations in a M&A situation to engage employees and enable the work to continue to get done.

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