Your employees are some of your most valuable assets. When a business is considering a merger or an acquisition, the most important part of the process is planning the internal communication. This will ensure that your employees are engaged and retained during the transition. Keeping your employees happy and informed is critical to a successful merger or acquisition.

Many companies put such a focus on the legal and financial pieces of a transaction that they forget to plan for how to communicate with their target audiences. When it comes to bringing together two companies, the most common reasons a merger or acquisition fails is because the company didn’t account for the people who make up the business. It’s important to bring in either an internal or external communication professional before finalizing the transaction to plan and execute a communication strategy.

When the deal is done, the real work starts.

Keep employees engaged throughout the merger or acquisition process using these five strategies:

1. Keep them in the loop

If employees feel like they are in the dark, they may start to feel anxious or insecure about their job. It’s important to build trust with your employees, especially any new employees you are acquiring through the sale. You can do this by being open and honest about the future of the company and employees’ roles within it.

2. Provide regular updates

Be proactive. Even if you don’t have anything new to share, continue to share information with your employees through the channels available to you such as social media, email, in-person meetings, on the company intranet and more.

3. Answer their questions

When there is a lack of communication with employees, it can lead to all sorts of speculation and rumors. Employees will start to wonder what is going on and what the future holds for them. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, which can hurt their work performance and their longevity with the company.

When you are in the process of a merger or acquisition, it’s important to remember that you may not have all the answers yet. Sometimes it’s okay to say “we don’t know yet” to employees. This will help to keep them calm and reassured that you are taking the situation seriously and that you are doing everything you can to get answers.

4. Let them know what to expect

Let employees know what to expect in terms of changes. For example, if there will be staffing restructures, changes or layoffs, it’s best to communicate this upfront. Employees will appreciate knowing what is happening and they will be more likely to stay with the company if they feel like they are a part of the process.

5. Give them a sense of ownership

Finally, remember to listen to your employees. They may have some great ideas on how to make the transition smoother.

Think of your employees as the living, breathing persona of your business. Treat them with the same preparation, care and consideration that you give to the other aspects of a merger or acquisition. Need a communication professional on your bench? We want to help you prepare a communication plan that will set your business transaction up for success. Give us a call today.

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