Negotiations are complete, closing is approaching and everyone is excited about the merger or acquisition, right?
One of the first crucial things to remember is that there is always a human factor once the merger or acquisition has been completed and should be a key component in your Integration Playbook.
Remember reading about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (i.e. needs that motivate human behavior). Thus, the first questions that typically go through employees minds are how they may be effected personally; such as do I still have a job or is my compensation/benefits package changing? Thus, until you can answer these fundamental types of questions, people typically are anxious.
Although you may not be able to promise everybody a job, you can promise they will be treated fairly and honestly. Emphasize broader career opportunities, identify key opinion leaders and key talent early. Reinforce their importance. Define the severance package early and make it as attractive as possible.
Not only are people thinking about the above, they honestly don’t know what to do when they get back to their workplace after the acquisition or merger has been announced. So the key is to emphasize the need to conduct business as usual, provide talking points and Q&A’s. Try to make sure that they are talking about the right topics.
A human mind needs a compelling vision of the future. This is a primary responsibility of the acquiring CEO or Business Leader. If the deal was done for good reasons, then that’s an easy picture to paint. Vocalize it soon and often.
Getting through this critical first step may be difficult but it will be crucial to successfully completing the integration and using an unbiased third party can help you manage the entire process more effectively.