What are some of the best practices on Change Management & Cultural Integration (particularly for companies with international operations)?
This has been a very crucial topic for my company over the past two years. We are a larger, multinational company with over 30,000 employees in offices in over 144 countries. We have acquired about 19 companies in the past two years, ranging in size from 12 employees to several hundred. Needless to say, the cultures are very different. The biggest best practice for us to remember is not to hit the target company employees with the “Big Company Hammer.” What I mean by that is that we need to remember that we need to remember the needs of all the employees we are bringing into our company, regardless of the size of the company they come from. We cannot just say “we are a huge company so do things our way” because that totally disillusions employees who probably chose to come from a much smaller environment. We must be sensitive to listening and seeing each individual as they come over. Right alongside that is remembering that we don’t know everything. We still have the opportunity to learn from the employees of the companies we acquire, no matter their size. This has been the number one best practice for us culturally in the M&A activity we have had for the past 2 years.
Always have a clear communication strategy from Day 1. There is a need to consider the audience, content, medium, timing and roles of communication for the announcement of the acquisition.
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