Strategies for retaining employees after a merger
M&A deals can sometimes have a detrimental impact on employee morale if not dealt with appropriately. According to professional service network Deloitte, there are myriad ways this unintended consequence may manifest among workers, including:
- Uncertainty about the future organizational direction
- Feelings of loss of previous organizational culture
- Uncertainty about personal job security
- Perceptions of lack of leadership credibility
- Feelings of confusion due to a lack of communication
- Survivor guilt due to downsizing of other employees
- Perceptions of increased job stress and workload
Deloitte advises implementing the following strategies to avoid high rates of attrition after a merger.
While this is not a long-term solution, it can buy management enough time to put more significant safeguards into practice.
Management that is credible, trustworthy and visible
Employees should feel that management is experienced, honest and accessible. Clearly defining roles after a merger is also essential to employee retention, as a lack of explicit expectations can lead to confusion.
Transparency regarding organizational shifts
Just as invisible management can arouse suspicion from post-merger employees, a lack of communication regarding the structural shifts the business is undergoing can cause unease. Find ways of communicating with staff as effectively as possible. This might include holding regular informational meetings.
Uninterrupted access to professional development resources
Professional development resources can go a long way in making workers feel valued by their employer. If possible, continue to provide comparable benefits during and after the merger as a way of reminding your staff they are appreciated.
Monitoring of employee workloads
Since the merging of two companies often involves layoffs, employees who remain with the new company may feel like they are taking on an unfair amount of work. Monitoring workload expectations and ensuring they are both doable and reasonable will increase your chances of retaining employees after a merger.