Merger and Acquisition are two corporate or business changes that could greatly impact the employees. During this change, departments will be closed which means, there will be job losses. When merger happens, some employees will be displaced since they are no longer needed from the company.
Merger basically means two different companies become a single entity and this will entail merging some of their functions. Instead of spending money on two departments with the same function, a department could also be merged to reduce costs. Usually, the best employees who have performed in their department are kept so that the best team could be assembled.
The situation is almost the same during acquisition. In the employees’ perspective, the only difference between a merger and acquisition is that the acquiring company dictates who gets to be terminated or kept on the job. During the merger, the decision making is done by two companies. A leader is selected but the leader will still be supported by the two or more companies which becomes one.
But merger and acquisitions is easy when you are dealing with upper management only. The lower management such as supervisors and managers would find themselves in a lot of pressure since they will face significant changes. This type of leadership is even more crucial since this will ensure that the company survives through their employees.
Managing Before the Merger
There two things that you should take care of before the merger as a leader: psychological fear and continuing business activity. The former is a lot more difficult to control for the leaders since no matter what happens; there is always that fear of merger and acquisitions because job losses could be expected.
As a leader, one of the best things you could do to lessen their fear is to give them the facts straight and without any qualms. Unfortunately, you cannot completely remove their fear so instead of delaying their fear, give them the news head on. If you think there is a merger that will close some of the departments, tell them about it. If the company will be closing your department which will cost everyone’s job, tell them a lot earlier about it. The worst thing that you could do to your department is to be silent about it and surprise them that they just lost their job.
This news could be devastating to your employees which lead us to the second challenging factor you should take care fast as a leader. Continuing normal business activity is very difficult if the employees know that it is their last days on the job. As a leader it is your responsibility to ensure that everything works as expected from the company.
A good way to ensure proper business activity is to ensure that your employees who will be terminated receive the compensation they should receive. Write recommendations and more importantly, remind them that they do not want to create a bad impression before they leave to ensure they would have a good recommendation from their previous company.
During and After the Merger
There are certain things that will most likely happen when a merger happens. During transition, make sure that your department has covered all the basics your department should have. That means every transaction has been processed and workflow is properly defined. The workflow is very important since this will become the main document for the other department from the merging company to consider if they want to merge. They will know how you do things and could even recommend changes to ensure improved productivity.
When all has been said and done, refocusing is another challenge. This is probably the most challenging part for the leaders since they would have to deal with the upper management and at the same time possibly deal with a different set of employees. As a leader, you need to adjust faster compared to your employees so that you can set everything into place and operations will be back to normal.
Handling a department during merger and acquisitions is very challenging. It can easily demoralize employees since their job is on the line. Ensure continuing business activity by handling the facts fast and help the employees go on a smooth transition. After everything has been said and done, refocus for proper interaction with your new company.