How prepared are you for the challenge of avoiding business disruption and people turnover during the acquisition process? It’s extremely easy to lose critical talent and a wealth of business intelligence through oversimplifying the people value in deals, which is why it’s so important to engage HR expertise at an early stage.
So often, deals focus solely on the financial, market position or business harmonisation opportunities and miss the value wrapped up in the people. If the ultimate intention is to create a combined company that’s larger, performs better and generates more revenue and profit that the smaller entities, what is needed on the people side and from HR Professionals?
- A sound understanding of how to interpret and navigate the over-arching employment law.
- Where there are multiple international locations, an appreciation of the various cultures, motivations and values of each entity.
- Intelligence on the respective labour markets, including availability of new talent.
- Identification of current key talent and the knowledge to design succession and retention strategies to secure this intellectual capital.
- Evaluation of contracts, terms and conditions of employment and benefits to capitalise on harmonisation opportunities and the negotiation and influence to implement changes, taking account of any TUPE legislation
- Organisational design skills, to help build the optimum structure for the future.
- The ability to “sell” the value of the transaction and communicate the opportunities for the future.
When to engage HR
The time gap between any announcement and the deal being transferred is an uncertain time for both parties and the ability to start to provide detailed plans in the early stages of the integration, will help to build trust and confidence in the future.
The HR People you chose will need to have empathy, open minds, sound judgement and have an ability to solve problems. They’ll need to be equipped to offer practical advice and support and to guide people through the periods of uncertainty and change until the integration plans are finalised. If you don’t have the resource in house, then don’t be afraid to outsource. An external person, can give you the added benefit of being impartial, not being distracted by day to day operations and not being conflicted by any commercial decisions which need to be made.
Ultimately winning people’s hearts and minds is paramount in integrating existing people with the new culture and HR professionals are often best placed to explain the value of the new world to employees in the detail and language they will relate to.
If you’d like to discuss any further questions you have on acquisitions and harmonisation please do get in touch.