Mergers and acquisitions are a way for some companies to improve profits and productivity, while reducing overall expenses. While good for business, in some cases they are not good for employees. With a merger and acquisition come the requisite lay–offs, leaving many employees worried about their positions or the changing culture of the company.
Unfortunately, there may be instances where you will have little to no warning. But if you do hear that your company is in the middle of a merger or acquisition, the best advice – in what is bound to be a difficult situation – is to prepare. Recognize that change will most certainly happen and that several different scenarios could occur.
When corporations combine, there are usually instances of redundancy. In these cases, the acquiring company has a mandate to reduce the number of employees performing similar jobs. Managers are not immune. They too face the same challenges, where redundancy leads to a lay–off, or may require taking on a lesser role within the organization, sometimes at a reduction in pay. While you may not be on the unemployment line, it is still best to take a look at your finances and determine if you will be able to pay your expenses, should you be laid off and have to collect unemployment.
On the other hand, those with the most knowledge and in–demand skills often remain. You may be one of the employees needed for a new role within a much larger company. This may lead to opportunity, with an expansion in your role or even a promotion.
The culture of the organization can be impacted as well, and this can affect overall morale, which may decline due to uncertainty. If the two organizations’ employees cannot work well together, this can lead to further uncertainty and in some instances chaos, leaving employees considering going elsewhere or accepting offers from competitive companies.
The new culture, new boss, new policies and new teams may all be too much and make you conclude that you are not a good fit. This will be the time to begin the process of moving forward altogether and pursing a new job.
So what should you do under these circumstances? While there are many human issues that all organizations deal with during these times, the best approach for employees is to prepare. Head off some of the uncertainty that a merger or acquisition can bring. If possible, speak with your manager to determine if you will have a role within the new organization. Articulate your desire to remain, if this is the case, and contribute to the organization’s growth.
After your discussion, develop a plan. This may involve working with your manager to map out your new role – or beginning the job hunt process altogether. While not the best of circumstances, being somewhat prepared for an uncertain future can help.