What Are Effective Tactics for Retaining Key Talent During a Merger or Acquisition?


    What Are Effective Tactics for Retaining Key Talent During a Merger or Acquisition?

    Navigating the complexities of mergers and acquisitions requires strategic talent retention, and who better to learn from than top executives in the field? From the first step of introducing new values to involving key talent in the integration process, explore the strategies employed by CEOs and CHROs for keeping your crucial team members engaged during these transitions.

    • Introduce New Values, Regular Feedback Cadence
    • Foster Open and Transparent Communication
    • Encourage Skill Development
    • Involve Key Talent
    • Create a Comprehensive Integration Plan

    Introduce New Values, Regular Feedback Cadence

    After the due diligence process is performed and the Legal Team has communicated that the deal is complete, the best analogy I can describe this delicate business endeavor to is that of a blended family. After the wedding or the grand re-opening day, it is critical to introduce the new values, including the way business will be performed moving forward. However, success comes with a regular cadence to reinforce expectations, reward outstanding behaviors, and empower employees to have a voice in how things are going during the transition. Monthly meetings with the team, 30/60/90-day Stay Interviews, or pulse surveys can be used to assess the engagement climate of your employees, so leadership can know how things are going, or if there is a need to pivot. Turnover costs, so any of these strategies can provide the tools to learn what is needed from your team in order to exceed their expectations.

    Tish McFadden, PHR, MSHRM
    Tish McFadden, PHR, MSHRMChief Executive Officer, The Shine Institute

    Foster Open and Transparent Communication

    One highly effective tactic for retaining key talent during a merger or acquisition is fostering open and transparent communication. This involves not only communication from leadership but also equipping managers and team leaders—those with the most trusted relationships with their teams—with information and answers to frequently asked questions. Recognizing that change affects individuals differently, it's crucial to guide leaders in identifying and supporting those who may be most unsettled. This personalized approach creates a safe space for ongoing dialogue, builds trust, and ultimately helps retain top talent.

    Mark Putrus
    Mark PutrusChief People Officer, Nativo

    Encourage Skill Development

    Navigating mergers can be challenging for our employees. To support our top talent during these times, I prioritize discussing strategies for success. It is crucial to encourage skill development, particularly in change management, as it enhances their future employability. By involving our top talent in leading integration projects, they become integral to shaping the future of the new company.

    Additionally, in unfortunate circumstances where a transition is necessary, it is essential to emphasize the importance of leaving on a positive note. Remember, people will remember how you leave, so continue to maintain professionalism and avoid burning any bridges.

    Alicia Goodman
    Alicia GoodmanCHRO, Cerus

    Involve Key Talent

    In our experience, communication has been the cornerstone of successfully retaining key talent during a merger or acquisition. I've found it crucial to maintain an open dialogue throughout the process, ensuring that everyone feels informed and valued. We prioritize transparency, providing regular updates and addressing concerns as they arise. This approach not only helps in mitigating uncertainty and fostering trust but also in reinforcing our commitment to the team's well-being and career progression. Additionally, we make concerted efforts to involve key talent in the integration process, giving them a voice in shaping the future direction of the organization. This not only helps retain our valued team members but also leverages their insights and expertise, which are essential for a seamless transition and continued success.

    Mark W Lamplugh Jr
    Mark W Lamplugh JrChief Executive Officer, South Jersey Treatment Management Company

    Create a Comprehensive Integration Plan

    Retaining key talent is often challenging but crucial for the transition's success. One effective tactic we've employed at Spectup is creating a comprehensive communication and integration plan that prioritizes transparency and inclusion.

    I recall a merger we facilitated between two mid-sized tech firms. From the outset, we established clear and consistent communication channels to keep all employees informed about the merger's progress, goals, and impacts. We organized town-hall meetings, Q&A sessions, and regular updates from leadership to address concerns and dispel uncertainties.

    By giving these employees a voice in shaping the new organizational structure and culture, we fostered a sense of ownership and commitment.

    Niclas Schlopsna
    Niclas SchlopsnaManaging Consultant and CEO, spectup