Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are common strategies for growth in the modern business environment, but they’re not without significant challenges – especially where a company’s “human capital” is involved.
If you lose key players amongst your staff during a merger or acquisition, whatever plans you had following the process could quickly dissipate and your goals may be thwarted. So, what can you do to make sure that staff retention (especially when it comes to your VIP employees) isn’t an issue? These are some tips that are worth considering.
Get the employees involved
Employees tend to bolt faster when they feel like they have no input into or control over a situation, so do everything in your power to give your key players a voice. Ask for their feedback as you talk about how to integrate workforces and systems, and take their suggestions to heart. Make sure that your managers and team leaders engage personally with the staff members you’re hoping to keep.
Offer a retention agreement
A lot of employees leave during and after M&As because they feel uncertain about their place or value. You can ease their fears, show them that they are wanted and gain a commitment from them to stay for a period of time through a retention program. Cash bonuses for staying for a set period, stock options or other incentives can talk very loudly.
Have a clear conflict resolution plan
There are going to be some “bumps in the road” during this process. When conflicts arise, nothing will make an employee feel adrift faster than not having a clear path forward that will allow for a resolution. When conflicts arise, don’t let the issues go unaddressed. Dealing with each situation as it arises can keep operations smooth and build a company culture that prizes transparency.
Look for ways to make the changes positive
Change can be hard for a lot of people to accept – unless it’s overwhelmingly positive for them. When possible, think of an M&A as an opportunity to hit “reset” on system operations and see what you can do to make the workplace more attractive than ever for your employees. Think about offering flex-time, work-from-home or hybrid options to employees who can do their work remotely. The added work-life balance that brings may induce them to stay.
Seeking experienced legal guidance can help you make certain that you’re approaching an M&A in the most informed ways possible (and avoiding potential legal problems whenever possible).