Our thoughts, views, and experiences
Most mergers fail to create value or realize expected synergies because of incomplete post-merger integration plans that govern how people are integrated into the new business. Upfront development of transitional principles and protocols are often missed because the more technical aspects of the deal are prioritized and fast-tracked. Without these principles and protocols in place, mergers often fall short of desired goals.
The Importance of Clearly Defined Protocols
Post-merger transitional principles and protocols are the rules of engagement of a successful people integration. Establishing and gain- ing approval of these guidelines immediately after the announcement process will ensure uniformity, consistency and evenhandedness in people-related decision making. They become a barometer and reference guide for leaders in time of uncertainly and upheaval.
Organizational design principles and protocols are the first to be defined. They must be clear, aligned with the deal business case, allow for fact-based decision making and include well-defined approval mechanisms.
Talent retention plans need to be defined quickly to minimize flight risk of business-critical employees and ensure operational continuity. These plans are intended for select employees who are critical to the business or integration requirements, such as knowledge transfer. People managers and Human Resources staff play important roles in talent retention and need clear principles and protocols guiding them to determine an employee’s flight risk and overall organiza- tional value. Retention principles and protocols also need to be pre- defined for employees whose roles are to be redefined or eliminated.
Post Merger Employee Appointments
The employee selection and appointment process to populate the new organization design comes next. When developed effectively, this process communicates and reinforces transitional principles of transparency, balance and fairness. The shape of the future organizational structure, current employee roles and capabilities, employee career goals, and location are often factors in the selection process. Having clear selection principles and protocols help avoid biased appointments, capability gaps and redundancy miscalculations.
These appointment process principles and protocols need to include the timing for announcements at all levels and communicated to all employees. Leaders must consistently follow these published principles and protocols to avoid suspicion, hostility and potential lawsuits.
Other key post-merger transitional principles and protocol elements that need to be mapped out include handling of business partners, including vendors and contractors, and the status of existing non-business-as-usual activities, like special projects. Also, Human Resource department processes need to be aligned including expat assignment terms, recruitment and job postings, compensation and benefits, performance management, and external conferences and training programs.
Devolvement, approval and implementation of post-merger transitional principles and protocols are key requirements for a successful merger. They provide a foundation for other deliverables within your post-merger integration strategy and allow for a much smoother transition and inte- gration.