Mergers and acquisitions are a normal part of doing business, but they’re definitely not without an element of risk. You can end up losing a key part of what makes a company successful: your human capital.
Uncertainty about the company’s future, fears about their job security, stress and changes in the company culture can all send your top talent out the door just as fast as they can get their resumes ready.
What can you do to stop a mass exodus during mergers and acquisitions?
Every situation is different, but there are some basic steps that you probably shouldn’t skip if you want to build trust and retain your key people:
- Communicate as much as possible: If you aren’t giving employees information about what to expect during and after this process, they’re going to imagine the worst and act accordingly. Management transparency can increase retention rates by as much as 30%.
- Have an employee integration plan: Don’t leave the employees who are moving from one company or team to another out there to “sink or swim.” Have an organized plan that will make them feel welcome. For example, make sure that someone is in charge of getting them proper equipment, finding their workstations and streamlining the entire onboarding process.
- Monitor stress levels, shifts in workplace culture and employee satisfaction levels: If the company culture shifts too far too fast, you could lose a lot of employees, so make sure that you’re keeping a check on how much is changing. Solicit feedback (perhaps anonymously) to see what stressors are making your employees unhappy and take corrective action.
Finally, if you’ve identified specific key employees that are critical parts of your operations, consider an employee retention agreement. The right incentives, bonuses, pay raises and other financial perks can induce many employees to tolerate the transition period (even if it is a little rocky).