Mergers can create immense anxiety among senior leaders and staff members. These changes go beyond a new name and culture and affect the core of an organization’s identity. Even small changes can rattle employees, so having the proper tools and resources to address these issues can help minimize the impact of these changes and enable effective integration.
To successfully navigate through a merger, companies must shift their employees’ mindsets and behavior to protect their sources of value. One common mistake that management makes is focusing on the deal’s short-term goals instead of the company’s long-term goals. This can lead to a lack of focus on the necessary changes to improve the company’s health.
Manage Cultural and Operational Expectations
A successful integration program should go beyond addressing the immediate needs of the merged entity and its employees. It should also manage the various cultural and operational changes during the transition. The culture of an organization is what sets it apart from other businesses. However, when two companies merge, there are bound to be cultural differences that need to be resolved. These differences can manifest themselves in various forms, such as attitudes toward work-life balance and punctuality.
Another step in a merger is to adapt to the new operating models. This often involves implementing new processes and procedures. Although companies can’t always announce these changes immediately, it’s essential to develop a communication plan that addresses these issues before the actual implementation. A well-communicated plan will help employees understand the changes and how they will affect them. Before the deal is finalized, processes should be redesigned to make them more effective and efficient. This should include addressing the various issues related to the new roles and decisions that will be made.
Foster Positive Energy
Before a merger can be successful, the organization’s people must understand the company’s compelling case for change. This can help them develop a positive and constructive relationship with the new entity. The message should be consistent with the company’s strategic goals and should also be designed to appeal to different stakeholders.
Early communication is vital since employees will only absorb the messages after several attempts. It can also help them develop their own stories and provide feedback to the team. Aside from regular communication, leaders can also organize focus groups and participate in social media campaigns to engage their employees. These activities can help them better understand the company and its goals.
Monitor the Rollout of Changes
To successfully implement a change-management program, a company must regularly monitor its progress and the team’s alignment. For instance, a pulse survey should be sent to employees to measure their emotions and perceptions during the transition. A tracking system monitored by the management office and the integration leader can also provide a comprehensive view of the company’s health. It can also identify areas of concern such as employee attrition and absenteeism.
The head of the integration department and the office of the integration manager should also play a central role in the planning and execution of the program. They should also provide feedback on the status of the change and its effects on the company. The integration leader should also develop an action plan to address the cultural issues of the merged companies. This person should communicate with the senior executives and members of the steering committee to oversee the changes.
Although it can be challenging to measure the impact of a merger, it can create greater value by helping the new organization move in the same direction.