Mergers & Acquisition

Bringing employees into the fold and helping them understand your mission, vision and values.

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Company mergers and acquisitions always bring change and uncertainty, which is never easy for employees. And they can take a long time to happen. You need an effective internal communication strategy to keep employees informed, engaged and focused every step of the way. It’s essential for a smooth and successful transition to the new normal.

What are mergers and acquisitions?

In mergers and acquisitions (M&A), companies combine their assets through financial deals. A merger is when two companies become one organization. An acquisition is when one company purchases another and becomes the new owner.

Why is internal communication during mergers and acquisitions important?

Employees need to know the reasons behind the M&A deal, including the growth and profit potential for the business. But they also need to understand how they’ll be affected personally. If you fail to address employee concerns, you could lose the people most critical to your success.

With effective internal communication during a merger or acquisition, you can go a long way toward:

  • Building employee loyalty and trust.
  • Retaining your top talent.
  • Developing a cohesive culture.
  • Ensuring employee engagement, motivation and work quality.
  • Enhancing customer service and satisfaction.
  • Ultimately improving the company’s bottom line.

How to communicate about mergers and acquisitions

At PartnerComm, we can help you create an effective internal communication strategy for a merger or acquisition. We focus on these key principles, working with your communications team:

  • Address culture changes.
  • Reach all key stakeholders.
  • Communicate frequently and consistently.
  • Equip leaders and managers.
  • Assess and finetune.

Address culture changes

Culture includes the values, attitudes and behaviors shared by an organization. Start by understanding the similarities and differences in the cultures of each company. Then, work to create a unified culture for the newly blended organization that reflects your vision for the future. Your messaging and tone should reflect the culture you aspire to become.

Reach all key stakeholders

Identify all key internal stakeholders, which include:

  • Leaders.
  • Managers.
  • Employees in general.
  • Targeted employee groups, such as:
    • High potentials (the top performers in your company).
    • Employees in critical positions.
    • Those from each legacy company.
    • Union members.

Understand the communication needs and preferences of each group, and tailor messages specifically for them.

Communicate frequently and consistently

Begin communicating as much as possible before the M&A process begins. Provide frequent updates during and after the M&A process is complete. Be open and honest — especially about what you know and what you don’t know. This approach builds trust and credibility, and helps prevent rumors.

Make sure your messages are consistent and coordinated across all groups.

Listen to people’s questions and concerns by using two-way communication channels.

Choose the right mix of tactics in your M&A communication planning. You need to ensure timely and easy access to information. Reach all employees by using a variety of communication tools:

  • Digital: websites, video, podcasts and mobile applications.
  • Print: postcards, brochures, guides and posters.
  • Face-to-face: virtual and in-person presentations.

Equip leaders and managers

Employees depend on their leaders and managers for information about a merger or acquisition. They want to know the impact the changes will have on them. Make sure you give leaders and managers the resources they need to understand:

  • What’s happening and why.
  • The role they play in supporting the changes.
  • How to address employee concerns.

Update the information, as needed, throughout the M&A process.

Assess and finetune

Once you’ve started communicating, it’s important to measure the effectiveness of your strategy. You need to see what’s working well and what can be improved. Use these tactics to assess your efforts:

  • Employee pulse surveys.
  • Two-way communication channels (e.g., invite employees to post comments or ask questions on your intranet).
  • Informal feedback from leaders and managers.
  • Metrics, such as the percentage of employees who take appropriate actions.

Then, finetune your communication plan, based on your findings.

An internal communication M&A example

A global technology company acquired an American consumer electronics and mobile communication business. They needed to harmonize the organizations’ HR philosophies, programs and policies. They asked PartnerComm to help communicate the changes and ensure a successful integration.

Project goals included:

  • Ensuring leader and manager support for the integration.
  • Helping employees understand the changes, how they were affected and what they needed to do.
  • Promoting the benefits of the integration for employees and the organization.

We created an internal communication strategy that addressed the needs, interests, learning styles and communication preferences of each key stakeholder group. Tactics included:

  • For leaders:
    • A brief that summarized the communication strategy and core messages.
  • For managers:
    • Communication tips.
    • Talking points.
    • A manager section on a microsite.
  • For all employees:
    • A graphic email and video from leaders.
    • A microsite.
    • A narrated presentation.
    • Videos.
    • Downloadable PDFs.
    • A personalized compensation statement.
    • Meetings with their managers.
    • All-employee meetings.

Reach out to an expert today.