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Under One Banner: Uniting Your Workforce After an Acquisition

2 min read

We’re surrounded by new technology, innovative ideas, and enhanced expectations every day in our business lives. What was hot yesterday is ice cold today. Disruption is the new normal, and mergers and acquisitions are a major part of that for organizations—but just because they’re more frequent than they used to be doesn’t mean they’re easy.

It comes down to trust

We’ve found that many of the problems that arise during large-scale change stem from a lack of trust. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that fewer than half of employees have high levels of trust in their organization and only 37% of employees find their CEO credible. A crucial part of ensuring success during and after an acquisition is putting importance in trust—and you can start by examining your company culture. Here are a few tips:

Align your leadership team

Does your leadership team present itself with one united voice?

If your answer to this question is no, then think about this: how can you expect your organization to be united if its leaders are not?

If your answer is yes, then move on to thinking about whether your leadership team is aligned with the people they manage.

Being aligned comes down to more than the two-sentence mission statement or vision your leadership team is supporting. It’s about their tone of voice in person, how their emails come across to the rest of the company, whether they feel authentic and real, the body language they present towards each other and others, the stories they use to get messages across, and more. People notice these subtleties, and they may affect the image your leaders and your organization are trying to portray.

Ensure communication is as clear as possible

Questions are inevitable during times of change. Your leaders and managers need to be ready for them, but they can also take steps to present new information in ways that avoid confusion. Have them try simple things like using clear subject lines as much as possible and double checking the tone of their writing to ensure they’re coming off the right way. (They can ask someone they trust to check important messages before they send them.)

Make coaching part of your company culture

A Gallup study found that only one in four employees felt that their direct manager offered them meaningful feedback on their performance and development. In a different survey, 93% of managers reported needing training on how to coach their teams. Clearly, everyone can agree that coaching is suffering—despite its overwhelming impact on engagement, productivity, and overall happiness at work. So don’t let your organization fall into a cycle of creating leaders who don’t know how to coach: have your leaders and managers practice coaching more frequently than just during performance reviews. It should be a daily practice, and it should be constructive and authentic.

Offer development opportunities

Your people need to know that you are investing in them, and offering training is a simple way to do that. Nothing kills productivity faster than when employees don’t feel appreciated. Offering development opportunities shows your teams that you’re hearing their areas of need and interest, and that you’re proactive when it comes to their performance and continued learning. And at the end of it all, your organization ends up with more skilled employees. It’s a win-win! Talk to us to learn more about our options.

While scary statistics about the failure rate of mergers, acquisitions, and other major change initiatives are pervasive, don’t let them overwhelm you. Focus on trust and the skills required to build it in order to ensure your organization succeeds.

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