Since change is hard on everyone, mergers and acquisitions often provoke anxiety in people concerned about successfully adjusting to new bosses and new ways of doing things. Furthermore, today’s workers know that large layoffs are quite common after mergers and they’re justified in fearing the loss of their jobs.
Fortunately, bright and caring managers can get ahead of the game by always treating their employees well, long before anyone begins talking about a possible merger or acquisition. However, once serious talks are underway, business analysts and others say there are specific ways individual bosses (and workers) can ease the stress on everyone.
While all of the following suggestions won’t work in every environment, they can provide useful ways to help many adjust to the new status quo.
Ways Effective Managers/Workers Can Make Merger Anxiety Dissipate Rather Quickly
Find creative ways to connect the two groups of employees involved. If possible, highlight the major achievements of each group when discussing them with their new co-workers. If the two groups won’t be working together in the same building, schedule social gatherings regularly if they’re still going to be in the same city. Otherwise, make it a point to hold at least annual or bi-annual events so your employees can socialize with one another. Finally, encourage everyone to find positive things to say about others – always downplaying the negative;
Start giving serious thought to accepting a strong severance package. Maybe it’s time for you to consider accepting one that offers you pay equivalent to one or two years’ salary. You can always update your skills while looking for a new, even better job;
Make extra efforts to reach out and retain your most productive leaders. When too many people start “jumping ship,” the morale at lower levels drops precipitously fast. If necessary, come up with financial incentives that will help you retain your best and brightest – it will often have a “trickle-down” effect and encourage others to stay;
Make sure your employees know your company’s core values. Give this topic serious thought and take time to explain these values while encouraging everyone to always do their best work. Also, stress the importance of acting with integrity and authenticity, always honoring your word with co-workers, managers and executives;
Hold extra meetings so that your employees can openly voice their concerns and grievances. Open communications imply respect and can increase productivity;
Exercise patience and don’t gossip. As mergers and acquisitions unfold, it can be very tempting to speak with those you think are close “work friends” about how you view everything that’s taking place. Unfortunately, gossip travels far too fast. Instead, be very observant but only confide in trusted family members at home;
Talk about what resilience means and why it’s a key trait for those who will succeed in the future of the company. Be aware that employees need to emotionally connect with their jobs in order to find them meaningful. Try whenever possible to link your workers’ current efforts with projects that can improve important societal goals. If your actual work projects don’t include this type of element, encourage your workers to volunteer regularly for meaningful causes, possibly giving them work time to pursue such activities;
Keep in mind that no one can thrive when feeling hopeless, disrespected or powerless. Find ways to ensure your workers that you truly need their help to make the new merger acquisition a success. If possible, see if you can obtain permission to provide short-term bonus incentives while everyone is adjusting to the new lay of the land.
To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today. You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.