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Six Ways To Nail a Successful Merger

April 1, 1997
Related Topics: Mergers and Acquisitions, Featured Article
Ensure adequate due diligence.
Understanding the inner workings of each company is essential. Not only can it ensure that the firms are in compliance with all laws and regulations, but also it can make the merger much less stressful.

Establish a well-developed rationale.
Although products, manufacturing ability or a sales force might get more attention—and actually serve as the underlying reason for the merger—the human side of the equation is a key element in the success or failure of a merger. It's up to HR managers to get the necessary information in the right hands and communicate to senior executives—from a financial standpoint—how workforce issues enter the picture.

Understand the possible synergies.
A solid understanding of each company's workforce and the culture that surrounds each can help HR staff develop policies and strategies that work best in the situation.

Meld the corporate cultures.
Mergers and acquisitions mean more than streamlining and standardizing benefits. It's essential to use a variety of tools—including workshops, activities and new work teams and task forces—to coalesce cultures.

Set solid communication of goals.
A merger isn't a time for employees to listen to speeches and view video updates every week. Senior executives and HR mangers must spend time discussing the changes and how they'll impact the workforce. Honesty is essential. But the communication must go both ways. Venting sessions and forums during which employees can ask questions and get straight answers help alleviate much of the anxiety.

Move quickly during the transition.
One of the biggest mistakes HR professionals can make is to overanalyze and study every program or change that's contemplated. It's best to move fast and handle most tasks in days or weeks so that the company and new workforce can forge ahead and reengage in meaningful work.

Workforce, April 1997, Vol. 76, No. 4, p. 57.

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