Why do nearly 80% of corporate mergers fail despite shared visions of better operational leverage, greater efficiencies, access to new markets, etc.? Inmost cases, “culture clash” is major contributing factor. What can be done to minimize the inevitable distractions, turf wars, and even the perception of“winners” and “losers”?
In any relationship, dynamic human factors that come into play can be hard to anticipate. Major changes create anxiety, and can lead to poor judgment and a lack of focus on what’s really important.
Today it is not unusual to have several corporate identities, with employees spread out in different locations all over the world. Turf wars and even some degree of passive aggressiveness are notunusual. In some cases, the newly blended organization brings former competitors together under one roof!
For these reasons and more, the importance of a proactive HR strategy cannot be overstated. HR leadership, as opposed to simple administration and cleanup, is vitally important. As HR leaders we must provide critical input that can become a fundamental part of our organization’s merger/acquisition strategy. History tells us that “culture clash” is an all-too-common cause of failed mergers. Where can HR add the most value?
One of the most important components of a successful M&A strategy is proactivecommunication. By anticipating the questions that each segment of our audience will have, we can minimize stress, distraction, and our own time dealing with repeated inquiries. For many reasons, (confidentiality being primary among them), even HR doesn’t have all the answers until the “deal is done” – an announced.
Change management requires setting (and meeting) expectations appropriately, communicating early and often, and most importantly anticipating questions.Every stakeholder has needs for information that will help him or her create plans that minimize disruption during periods of uncertainty and change. Despite our best efforts however, unforeseen developments are inevitable. This requires us to be nimble and maintain a certain degree of flexibility as we field a barrage of questions from stakeholders up and down the corporate ladder.
Coming together on common ground around mission, vision and values is a positive step toward a combination of potentially incongruent corporate cultures. HR strategists understand that there is give and take on both sides, and mergers often require that we abandon certain long-held beliefs “for the good of the team”. This can be painful for long-term employees especially. We will discuss two examples in which an attempt to forge a new culture under a new set of values was particularly successful.
In this session, you will explore, from the HR point of view, the many reasons why some mergers and acquisitions are successful but more are not. Your presenter, Alan Preston, will speak from first-hand involvement in many high-profile (and successful) mergers, including eBay’s high profile acquisition of PayPal in 2004.