Taking care of people while taking care of business.
Many of today’s business leaders would agree that it is important to take care of employees after a merger or acquisition, but despite good intentions the human factor (read: unpredictable) can lay waste to best laid plans or plans not laid at all.
“I’ve had M&A guys tell me that after buying a company for hundreds of millions of dollars they watched as the value tanked because the star performers stop performing,” says Andrew Reid, Big Fish Interactive, a Toronto-based developer of leadership and corporate training programs. “They planned upfront for every eventuality except the one that can break a company – not taking care of the people.”
While these companies can create short term results with better products and pricing, sustainable growth and revenue happens only when leaders focus on business relationships. “The relationship between staff and the new company direction is key,” suggests Reid. “Employees worry about mortgages and tuition costs when change threatens their security or personal contribution.”
Anyone who has lived through a merger will identify with the behavioral issues that change brings. Some organizations promise lucrative bonuses and other incentives in order to keep behaviors in check and to hold onto talent after a merger, but Reid believes that it is important to deal honestly with employees need to participate in positive change. “We run a lot of programs geared to helping staff through the transition while also laying the groundwork for future growth.”
One point Reid imparts to leaders is that employee departures and performance issues after a merger are good feedback to management that they have not inspired a strong following. “Employees will always follow a dynamic leader who pushes them to greater goals….and, here’s the key message…when those employees have been invited to actively participate in their own success.”
Contact Big Fish for more information about helping employees through change.