Mergers fail due to lack of clarity and people skills

mergers fail to fulfil their potential because senior managers lack a clear
strategy and mismanage people issues, according to a report by Roffey Park.

Mergers and Acquisitions claims poor handling of people during merger leads to the
loss of key employees, restructured responsibilities and derailed careers. It
says merging companies often underestimate the level of integration required
and fail to respond to cultural issues.

co-author Valerie Garro said, “Eighty per cent of changes occur in the first
three months after a merger. Employees seek to interpret the signs of new
appointments and allocation of offices as well as plans for closure and

teams often find themselves in the front line having to meet commitments that
they’ve not been party to making, while being uncertain about their jobs.”

report advises HR teams to adopt a strategic role and focus on the most
imperative business and organisational priorities of mergers. Otherwise, HR
departments are foisted with a passive, data provision role.

often than not, HR is not included in deal negotiations and it is a catch-up
situation once the merger is announced,” claims the report.

teams have to equip themselves for managing the people aspects of integration,
especially if their organisation is on the acquisition trail. Partly this is
about developing specific expertise within HR teams.

also involves making sure that HR has its own house in order with regard to
systems, information and organisation.”

stresses the need for staff retention during the integration phase. This can be
difficult considering it is characterised by pressures to deliver targets,
increased performance scrutiny, and new work processes and teams. She stresses
the importance of effective communication and transitional managers.

report contains input from 13 companies, including Amoco, BP, Citibank and
Deutsche Bank.

HR teams can be prepared for merger:

Create a checklist for due diligence
– Carry out risk analysis on key jobs
– Prepare due diligence database
– Enable experienced transition managers to learn from each other

Mike Broad

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