So an announcement is made OR a rumor is floating around: the company is going to be sold or bought.
One thing that’s important to remember with a merger or acquisition is that there will be a wide range of emotions amongst employees and leaders alike. What kinds of feelings do you think are happening with the employees? Managers? Leaders? Everyone will react differently, but how they react can have a major effect on workplace culture and productivity as a whole. It is especially critical how the leadership feels during a merger or acquisition, as their reaction can trickle down and affect the employees at large, possibly creating a resistance to change and a downturn in morale.
How can you then make two teams come together, work together productively, and feel like they belong after going through the period of upheaval?
You need to merge the workplace cultures effectively to make sure all of the employees have a place to fit in. Perhaps most importantly, you need to allow for a period of grieving and healing to take place instead of aiming to force all of the changes from the get-go. Give the employees and managers time to find their footing and process their feelings. After all, many times in a merger or acquisition, owners can be ousted, leadership can change dramatically, and employees that had worked side by side for years can find half of their coworkers now gone.
When you’re ready to merge two company’s cultures, both companies’ cultural attributes need to be examined and explored, including their environment, values, and behaviors. Try interviewing employees on both sides to get a feel for their view of the culture, what worked, what didn’t, and get a feel for how you can then create a plan and direction to move forward.
And most importantly communicate, communicate, communicate. Communication is the key to a great workplace culture and a excellent foundation to begin merging two companies and making them work as collaborators and partners.