Merging cultures is key when businesses merge
Mergers often fail to deliver the intended benefits – often because the two businesses simply cannot merge people cultures. Some disadvantages reported following mergers include job satisfaction decreases, declining collaboration and trust between colleagues and an increase in conflict, stress and employee turnover.
Recent research suggests that looking at the employee elements as the main approach to change is one of the best ways to ensure the merging of cultures. Failing to focus on the human side of change will very often undermine even the best laid plans.
Planning for a merger means looking at both organisations in the following context:
- Respect the past – don’t write off processes that “work”
- Create opportunities for staff to talk to each other, and to leaders, to help them make sense of the changes
- Focus on the how and the what
- Ensure employees feel valued and heard
- Manage employee engagement
- Monitor and maintain morale and commitment at each stage of the merger
Actively gathering feedback and insight from those living through change will provide valuable feedback and allow plans to be adapted to suit continuing engagement.