In today’s fast paced, global business world, Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) have become a common place as we see more and more companies joining forces to acquire new capabilities and competencies, often related to market share, technological and/or geographical change. It’s fascinating to see that the strategic motives behind takeovers these days are rarely about firms just getting bigger – but about joining the human capital in the two organisations. M&A often results in entity reorganisation with the aim to provide growth or positive value. The key stakeholders in all of this are the people – the shareholders, the board of directors and the employees. It thence becomes imperative that the communications and the later undertakings are carried out with complete consciousness to ensure that people’s emotions are addressed, to ensure that the takeover creates minimal friction. This article outlines how an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) solution like Yammer can be used across a vast spectrum of key activities during, and post, M&A activity.
“The key stakeholders in all of this are the people – the shareholders, the board of directors and the employees”
Open Communication is essential – Internal and External stakeholders
We’ll say it again, but as you know Communication is key to any change in the organisation – but specifically – how?
Use Yammers announcement features to talk about the merger and outline of the plans ahead. Frequent and regular updates on the ongoing developments from stakeholders are good for demonstrating transparency & information-sharing during this time of change. Yammer is a medium which is open to all employees and easily accessible for current news, acting as a quick reference quide for previous updates too. It enables the management to broadcast information pertaining to how this activity will create a more competitive, cost-efficient company, and how these two companies coming together will help gain a greater market share or achieve greater efficiency as well as any other projected benefits.
KYCs – Know Your Company, Culture, Counterpart, Customer
People in both companies are the most curious at this juncture, and want to know more and more about the other company they are partnering with – Who is my counterpart in the new company? How does his/her project work – do function differently than I? How can I connect with the group in the new organisation who do similar work as my team? What are the customers they cater to? And many more are common questions in everyone’s mind. Yammer connects people together. It helps to build the initial bond, which is most essential for collaboration and growth of the combined entity. It helps people to open up to ideas and discuss their thoughts openly as “One Team” – having employee participation and involvement is key. Careful moderation and community management (via Yammer) is imperative for the enablement of this level of communication.
“Careful moderation and community management is imperative”
New tools and processes
What goes wrong in M&A? Well, a lot as you may have experienced, can go wrong with the takeover process due to poor due diligence & inadequate integration planning. In most cases the main cause for failure is when the integration planning is not done with the complete knowledge of any current tools and processes, which results in a failure of the adoption of the same. It is hence vital to have the following:
- Extensive collaboration and analysis by the Integration Leader to understand the systems on both sides, and to figure out the middle path which is advantageous to the larger good of the combined organisation. This would only come through extensive collaboration through conversations and meetings.
- A medium for communication on the planning, analysis and execution.
- A repository of commonly used artefacts and resource links – post the M&A execution it’s a good idea to create a centralised repository of commonly requested for artefacts such as branding, logos, policies, document templates etc. While there are other systems such as SharePoint Intranets and Team Sites that can address it in a more structured way – Yammer makes the setup and mobilisation much faster and economical.
- Yammer your way through the integration for tracking the change management. This will help layout the plans – short term and long term – help track and record the progress along with keeping all key stakeholders informed at all times on progress, even take their opinions as the work progresses. Online training on the new tools and processes is most easy with Yammer. FAQs are conveniently accessible. All this gives confidence to the wider audience on the adoption of the new processes, and tools.
“The management, HR and Internal Communications play a vital role here to engage employees”
Addressing the “What’s in it for me?”
The largest group effected in all of this is the employees, who are conscious about their growth, job security, and the change in work culture. There is an impact on their careers while the business complexity increases due to various change in parameters, causing pain in adjusting with the ever changing environment. There is a need for simplicity which every individual tries to identify and implement in order to move ahead. Career growth hence becomes a balancing act for the employee where they see the real change through changing business environment and their own endeavor to simplify the nature of work at hand.
The management, HR and Internal Communications play a vital role here to engage employees and help provide confidence to the teams on a planned career growth via various open discussion forum. Consider running YamJams once every 4-5 weeks to allow for open forum Q&A with the management. Open it up to all employees, encourage involvement, collaboration, nurture the “One Team” attitude and move ahead collectively – and see how Yammer can enable the journey.
Keep everyone in the ‘known state’
For employees being bought out generally carries negative connotations, its easy to term the deal as ‘hostile’.. The M&A execution period is mostly about high attrition % in any companies involved, primarily because of panic. The rumor mills reach their highest peak during this phase, and there is no stopping this. One of the easiest and effective way to control the situation is to help everyone be in this known state by constant communication on progress and future plans. This will not just ease the tension, but also help employees come up with suggestions and ideas on how they can contribute to the integration process. It also enables easy adoption of new policies, tools and processes, rather than just thrusting them on to people post delivery.
Yammer and social working can help transform your work place and you, it brings people closer, and who knows – this might just be the beginning of a whole new phase in your career to demonstrate leadership. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to communicate, network, collaborate. Did you Yammer today?