When a merger is successful, the resultant new company is greater than the sum of its two distinct parts. The benefits for stakeholders are obvious, as merging resources and talent can enhance everything from financial stability to operating efficiency.
But the benefits for employees? Sometimes they aren’t so obvious. Often, companies are so focused on the financial and operational aspects of the transaction that they overlook the critical task of merging cultures.
At the end of the day, people do business with people. So if your company is faced with a merger, make successfully building a new culture a top priority.
Use these tips from to help your company culture (and your employees) thrive post merger:
Many experts recommend beginning the cultural integration process even before the transaction is complete. Senior managers should take inventory of how both organizations operate (how they think, how management leads, even how they have fun) and make a list of the ways the two cultures are similar and different.
Create your vision for the merged culture.
Bring leaders from both organizations together for a meeting devoted exclusively to corporate culture:
Using the best aspects of both corporate cultures, develop a new vision of what the merged culture should be like.
Detail key elements of the culture in writing – so you can share it with employees.
Brainstorm potential culture problems the merger may cause.
Create a plan for addressing issues, such as: resistance to change; worry over job loss; building trust within work teams and departments; and the impact of changes in compensation, benefits or workplace flexibility policies.
Designate “culture ambassadors.”
Identify leaders and influencers who can spearhead communication efforts and lead by example to facilitate the cultural merge. Put them in charge of creating a formal orientation plan to introduce employees to the new culture.
Communicate openly and frequently.
When employees from two distinct companies are expected to work side by side, they may rightfully have questions and concerns about their new work environment. Who will stay – and who’s on the chopping block? What will that new boss be like? Will ours still be a great place to work?
So clarify what’s coming! Make sure new groups of employees feel comfortable enough to focus on their jobs and work well together:
- Address culture issues and goals with every employee, using a variety of methods. Provide answers and information about the new culture: in company newsletters; on the employee section of your website; in departmental meetings; and more informally via direct supervisors.
- Be forthright about roles, benefits and compensation for employees. Clearly explain what will change and what will remain the same.
- Repeat the message. Culture adjustment will not occur overnight; reiterate goals for the new culture periodically over the first several months post merger.
Dealing with change in your organization?
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