Since our firm typically works with corporate clients in making strategic acquisitions, we have a unique perspective on the entire process, from initial contact through execution and integration. The following are some best practices that we have seen used effectively by our clients to garner employee support as they integrate an acquisition.
Ease employee uncertainty early. Given the strength of corporate rumor mills and on-site due diligence work, chances are that many employees will already know change is afoot when you officially announce your acquisition. Good communication and leadership are key to easing uncertainty and concerns.
Good leaders make good plans – Put together a strategic plan for running the business. Include key deliverables, a timeline for completing them and list of the executives responsible for achieving the objectives. Release this plan to employees and report on its progress periodically. The goals and strategy of the company won’t be important to employees unless they feel they are important to you.
Communication is key – The style of communication with new employees is as important as the content. Make sure the communications are clear, concise, frank and informal (but not too informal) in tone. Don’t sugarcoat or bury bad news. You’ll lose credibility, and chances are that many employees will already have heard about negative events, such as layoffs, through the grapevine.
Make Enthusiasm an Asset – The loyalty and enthusiasm of your new workforce can be a tremendous asset; their absence can be a liability that slows progress. Make new employees a priority when you first buy a company and continue to nurture these relationships as you go forward.