The key here is consistent and persistent communication. 2-way communication is critical. This includes town halls, small groups, and even 1:1. Listen to their concerns. Acknowledge their concerns. Where their recommendations and suggestions align with the transaction thesis and future state strategic plan, take and use their suggestions. And where they don’t, communicate your appreciation for their concerns but that the company was unable to implement at this time. Its about showing employees that you value their input and suggestions. That they are taking the time to communicate their concerns is a sign that they are engaged and want their concerns overcome. If you can show they are a valued member of the organization now and in the future, assuring them that they will be herd but that not every suggestion/recommendation will be implemented or implemented immediately, that should go a long way to resolving any issues and changing the hearts and minds of the employee population.
M&A is all about change and people fear change. No matter how well adjusted they seem, there is always a breaking point. How you address change, the change management methodologies you employ during the transaction and post-integration process, will make or break the success of the transaction in the 1 – 3 year window post transaction close. Having a talented Human Capital Advisor as part of your consulting team will be critical to managing the success of the people component – something not enough boutique M&A firms partner with nor invest in on their own teams. A lot of emphasis is placed on the financials and the numbers while too little focus is on the very people they need to make it all work. The financial assumptions require the right talent in place to make it happen. That is where Human Capital Advisors are critical to deal success!