Successful mergers will recognise teams, not sides

It amazes me that two-thirds of companies going through mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fail to consult their HR departments, even though we know that leaders cannot afford to overlook the most important aspect of this transition – the people dimension (Personnel Today, 19 June).

In an acquisition it’s only natural that the acquirer is seen as the ‘victor’ and the acquired the ‘victim’. For a merger to succeed, both must be prepared to let go and open themselves up to change. Failure to do so inevitably results in the departure of the best staff from the acquired company. Suddenly, the acquired company has lost the essence of what made it so attractive in the first place.

HR teams and internal communications have a clear role to play in the M&A process, and should be treated as an integral part of an acquirer’s forward planning.

HR should be involved in addressing inconsistencies and uncertainties in the two cultures and integrate the two sides on all levels as soon as possible. What should be communicated and emphasised is the fact that it’s a team, not two opposing sides.

Tom Smith
Head of organisational development
Lane4 Management Group

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