Retaining Top Talent During Your Company’s M&A Deal

06.03.2016 | Danielle Zarrella

2015 was a record-breaking year for worldwide deal making, with $4.7 trillion in announced mergers and acquisitions (M&A), according to data from Thomson Reuters. This figure is up 42 percent from 2014, and beats the previous record of $4.4 trillion set in 2007.

This explosion of activity and deal value is due in large part to mega-deals—deals that are over $5 billion, such as Pfizer’s $191.6 billion offer for Allergan PLC—which account for 51 percent of the overall M&A value in 2015. However, plenty of mid-size companies in sectors including healthcare, technology, consumer products, and retail made deals to consolidate to become more competitive in 2015.

As a firm providing PR counsel to growing technology companies, the team at Communiqué PR has assisted numerous clients through M&A transitions, with at least one client per year being acquired, on average. Keeping with the 2015 trend, we saw an increase in client acquisitions last year, with former clients Volometrix and Mobidia being acquired by Microsoft and AppAnnie, respectively. And, as each of our clients have entered into M&A deals, we have had the opportunity to witness first-hand the excitement, anticipation and frankly, the anxiety  that such a situation can bring to a workforce.

Employee Development Programs are Critical During M&A Transitions

According to America’s Job Exchange, the merging of company cultures can have a negative impact on employees, which can lead to a lack of motivation or the loss of top talent who may feel uncertain about their future role in the company. For instance, employees may be concerned about whether their job is becoming redundant and if they may be facing a layoff. Or perhaps they might wonder if they will have to relocate, or whether they will receive the same benefits package with the new company. Increasingly, employees going through this transition want to know whether the new company is invested in their individual long-term success and professional advancement.

As PR professionals, our team frequently helps clients develop communications plans with messaging developed specifically to help address the concerns of employees during a merger, however, ensuring that companies retain their top talent during a transition requires having a well thought-out employee development plan.

According to Sherry Tiao at Chronus, a provider of talent and career development software for enterprise-scale organizations, employee development programs often give employees goals to work toward and visibility into their potential career path. This increased perspective helps employees feel engaged and invested in their jobs and their company’s mission. In addition, an employee’s motivation is important to a company’s success, as disengaged employees can have a significant impact on productivity. According to a Gallup report cited by Tiao, estimates show that actively disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses between $450-$550 billion each year in productivity.

As M&A deals become more and more common, businesses aiming to retain the best talent and ensure a more seamless transition will need to invest time and resources into communications and development plans that help prepare employees for culture shifts and ensure individual motivation. Fortunately, business leaders seeking advice in this area can access a wealth of valuable resources online and from experts in career development, such as Chronus, which offers award-winning technology solutions and best practices used by organizations including Comcast, Coca-Cola, Kaiser Permanente and others to employer mentoring, coaching, and other training and development initiatives.

For insights and examples on how to establish and successfully manage an effective employee development program for your enterprise or merging company, check out Chronus’ published case studies and blog posts. For insights into developing effective messaging, internal communications plans, or for more about how Communiqué PR has helped clients facing M&A transitions, visit the Communiqué PR blog.


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