Any significant organizational change can affect your talent retention, especially during big movements like mergers and acquisitions. Expect turbulent times and many questions, especially from concerned employees who will naturally want to know how such a move will affect their role, status, and overall security within the company. Ultimately, successfully pulling off a merger or an acquisition comes down to helping your organization embrace change which should include formulating and communicating a change management process.
The role of human resources is to prepare your people and the organization for such a big move. The key is to allow employees to embrace a change that can be as exciting as it is initially unnerving. Here are some strategies that your company can use to ensure that you retain as many of your talented employees as possible:
Conduct a Round of Stay Interviews
Conducting stay interviews shows your team how much the management team values their needs and concerns. This is especially crucial during big transitions, when employees may feel unsure about where they fit into the organization now that it’s being moved. Stay interviews can help assure them that they are being heard, and it will give employees a chance to identify and address concerns that may not have been raised before the merge.
Where possible, share any changes that you can or cannot accommodate based on the employees’ feedback. For those items that you cannot accommodate it is valuable to relate that decision back to a corporate value, budget, or business circumstance that prevents you from moving forward. This substantiates the “no” as opposed to creating the perception that it is a decision made on a whim. More than anything, your people just want to be kept informed so that they know what to expect. Providing relevant information promptly can help reduce the likelihood of their departure.
Offer Leadership Opportunities
One of the upsides to a merger or acquisition is that it can present many new leadership roles, which are exciting opportunities for your employees to consider. Opportunities for professional growth are one of the main reasons people stay loyal to companies, and many consider it almost as valuable to their growth as their compensation.
Realistically while employers can’t offer every high-performing team member a promotion or salary increase, training programs are extremely valuable in helping employees acclimate to the new environment. This is especially true if they’ve been assigned new roles and teams in an unfamiliar organizational culture. HR functions play a significant role in ensuring this transition goes smoothly.
Consider the company’s future after the merger and provide employees with leadership development programs to help them grow in such an environment. Whether they’re moving up the ladder or training to become valuable SMEs, their need to look for growth elsewhere will diminish if you give them the right opportunities.
Encourage Fun During a Stressful Time
Stress, tension, and short tempers are all expected during a time as uncertain as a merger. While employers deal with the brunt of making the move a success, many employees also experience emotional distress that may encourage them to search for other opportunities.
Providing an environment filled with positivity, despite the difficulties, can contribute to the overall success of your organization’s merge. Rather than asking your employees to look on the bright side of things, consider offering simple and fun activities that can give everybody time to unwind and enjoy. You can go as inexpensive as an office scavenger hunt or invite your team to an office potluck. Some offices have even splurged on therapy dogs, which is bound to be a hit with your personnel! Your employees will recognize the effort you’ve made to make them feel a bit more positive about the transition.
Realistically, employers will need to face the difficult conversations that will inevitably be a part of the changes required during the merger. While you may lose a few team members in the process, you can make this transition smoother with HR services’ help by showing your team they are valued in the company despite all the changes. By committing to tackle the challenges head on, you just might inspire some of your employees to do the same.
Here at Involvi, we provide human resources consulting to small and medium-sized businesses. Whether you’re struggling with a labour issue, compensation and benefits, or talent acquisition and retention, we’re here to help you navigate HR successfully. Get in touch with us for a complimentary HR health check today!