A merger or acquisition by a large company is a common objective for business owners, but sometimes smaller companies lose their unique culture after the merger closes. These changes can scare away top employees and take away from the business’s unique strengths. Here are some ideas on how to preserve your company culture after a buyout.
5 Steps for Maintaining Your Company Culture After and Merger or Acquisition
- Create clear expectations: One key to a successful merger is retention, and one of the keys to retention is to eliminate uncertainty as soon as possible. Make sure the whole team knows what compensation, benefits and expectations there will be at the new company. Even if not all the news is good, it’s better to let them know than keep them in the dark. Good people usually have plenty of opportunities to leave if you don’t keep them in the loop.
- Appoint culture advocates: Find a few charismatic employees who you feel embody the best of your business culture. Request that these people speak with leadership in the acquiring company to discuss ways to translate these factors into the new company. Know that anything you fail to discuss will most likely default to the process used at the acquiring business.
- Pick your battles: The simple truth is most of your culture will be overwhelmed by the acquiring company. Know the most important factors and pick your battles. You may only get a few chances to share your input.
- Identify key talent: Talented employees can be one of the main reasons that a company gets acquired. If you lose the best employees, that value disappears. Identify top performers in your company and brainstorm with leaders in the acquiring company to keep these talented people onboard.
- Make sure there’s an orientation plan: The acquiring company needs to create an orientation plan that helps acclimate your employees without treating them as if they were new hires. Everyone needs to feel like they are included in the new organization. It can be a balance between teaching employees about the new company while also respecting their experience with the acquired organization.
Acquisitions can be bitter sweet for many business owners. It can be a great opportunity for the company to grow and progress, but a large part of what you loved about the business may also disappear. Preserving a few crucial aspects of your company culture will help increase the chances that the deal is a success.