September 22, 2021

Five Tips for Succeeding at the People Part of a Merger or Acquisition

Getting a read on the skills of a workforce before, during, and after a merger or acquisition too often comes secondary to evaluating an asset’s potential for value and growth. Most deals fail due to a lack of attention to talent.

With a better grasp on who has what skills among both companies involved, you can better structure the deal, know what talent is being brought in, see where there are skills gaps, learn where there is synergy, and better decide how teams should be blended.

Here are five tips for finally giving talent the attention that’s needed during a merger or acquisition.

Know your skills quota. Consider an investor in the energy sector looking at different potential assets for acquisition with skills in sustainability and alternative energy sources. Having data from the outset on what talent and skill sets exist in an organization will define the asset’s value and provide insight into integration opportunities and challenges.

Prioritize your talent challenges. Are there any skill sets that you need to retain that are critical? How robust is the pipeline, and what are the implications for retention bonuses and future skill development required to sustain growth? How do the cultures differ, and what will be essential for cultural integration? Knowing such answers early will help clarify the critical talent priorities that will drive deal value post-integration.

Move at speed and scale. A deal may take many months to deliver. During that time, talent may be targeted or be active in the market. Getting technology to access data on people and validate their skill sets quickly helps accelerate enterprise-wide people decisions.

Invest in leaders and stabilize talent moves quickly. Know whether the leadership skills you are buying have (or do not have) the skills needed for the next phase of the organization’s growth. Specifically, target business unit leaders, change leaders and critical influencers as change management will be essential to prepare all levels of leadership to integrate and transform the organization.

Help employees help themselves. Review the mix of personas within the acquired talent and co-create plans to improve their employee experience, especially for professionals.

Help the acquired talent understand the future success criteria for the organization so employees can invest in targeted skill development to aid their job security and improve their market value. At the same time, this enables leadership to forecast future skills and build a plan to address any skills gaps essential to future success.

Authored by Kate Bravery and Julie van Waveren of Mercer. To learn more, read “Tap Into Deal Potential by Diving Deep on Skills.”


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