Maintaining Engaged Employees During Mergers and Acquisitions

employees during mergers and acquisitions 

Learn why your business needs an integration survey after a merger and acquisition. 

“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” – Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Apple 

The big day has finally arrived. Your company landed the acquisition that it’s been negotiating for months. Bringing this new partner on board means you have the latest tools you need to make your company the centerpiece in the market. But there’s an important thing to remember. Your addition isn’t only bringing new tools, it’s also bringing new employees. 

When companies merge, a successful integration relies on many moving parts. Executives, HR, and business tools have to connect in a way that’s seamless enough for the company to start moving into its next phase as quickly as possible. What can’t be lost in this shuffle is one of your most important assets—your people. You have to find ways to keep engaged employees during mergers and acquisitions. 

Merging companies are inheriting new employees that need to be integrated, onboarded, and welcomed. They’ll likely have needs that are unique, and they’ll have habits that are ingrained from before the merger. On top of the cultural adjustments, mergers and acquisitions can cause a lot of uncertainty for workers. They may feel unmotivated to work or concerned about their future with the company. Because of these challenges, it’s important to go all in to have a successfully engaged employees during mergers and acquisitions

What to focus on for employees during mergers and acquisitions

The first place to start is understanding where your integration efforts stand. You have to get a sense of how your employees feel once a merger happens, and after cultural changes start to take place. It’s important to open communication channels early so that you can keep a pulse on progress, and so your employees know you’re going to look out for them along the way. 

There are five key indicator factors that we suggest focusing on to get a full view of your employees: 

  • Change management—to make sure that your employees feel guided as changes start happening. 
  • Connection—to help satisfy the universal needs that employees hope an organization fills (respect, recognition, autonomy, meaning, and progress). 
  • Commitment—because employees are more satisfied, engaged, and secure if they feel that the organization is committed to them. 
  • Satisfaction—its factors include compensation, workload, resources, perceptions of management, and more. 
  • Change adoption—here the focus is on how well the company changes its internal training, processes, technologies, and others. 
  • For more info—check out our full integration survey template.

The indicators above establish the broad overview that will clarify how tuned in you are to the pulse of your company, and how engaged employees are during mergers and acquisitions. The indicators connect to crucial themes, but to get a true sense of your workers, you have to ask targeted questions within the themes. You’ll then need to sort through the data and take actions to address employee needs over time.

Building your integration survey 

Since engaged and fulfilled workers bring more success to a business, and mergers are a time when those sentiments can falter, it’s important to build a survey that covers all the necessary employee concerns. 

At Workify we design our surveys with Industrial Organizational (I/O) Psychologists. The surveys aim to get to the root of how employees are feeling, with an emphasis on getting them to share things they may be reluctant to say. Some employees aren’t as candid as others, but feedback tools give them a space where they’re prompted to be forthcoming. 

One of the most important things to remember is that there is not a set path for mergers and acquisition. Just because one company’s merger wasn’t successful doesn’t mean that yours won’t be either. Each company faces their own unique challenges, and success won’t look the same for everyone. 

But despite any potential obstacles, mergers happen because of benefits that far outweigh the work required for a successful integration. For your company, these benefits could include increased revenue to help with future employee resources, more publicity for your brand, additional tools to solve business gaps, and more. 

If you’re ready to start building your integration survey, we recommend focusing on the key indicators above. Get in touch with us and we can walk you through the process. We know there are hurdles to keeping engaged employees during mergers and acquisitions, but Workify is here to help.

Need help building an employee engagement or feedback program? Want a third party view on where you should focus. Book a free 30 minute employee engagement consultation to discuss any questions you’re grappling with or to help with your company’s strategy.

Schedule a free 30 minute engagement consultation