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Successfully navigating the turbulent transitions of mergers and acquisitions really comes down to one thing: embracing change.

It may sound like a cheesy motivational office poster, but it’s true! Your strategy for navigating the change that mergers and acquisitions introduce will have a crucial impact on the success (or loss) of your team.

For many employers, retaining talent during periods of transition is simultaneously a top priority and a difficult challenge.

Business leaders often wonder how to decrease turn-over and convince employees to embrace a change that is often exciting for the organization but unnerving for the team.

If your company is in a state of intense transition, like undergoing a merger or acquisition, then our strategies below will give you tools you can use to help your organization embrace change and retain top talent.

If you need a partner to help your team successfully navigate change in your business, give us a call at 877-753-0970 or contact us on our website here.

3 Strategies For Retaining Talent During Mergers & Acquisitions

1. Listen: Conduct Stay Interviews

It’s likely that you’re familiar with exit interviews, but have you ever conducted stay interviews?

Like an exit interview, stay interviews solicit employee feedback; but unlike exit interviews, stay interviews are conducted prior to an employee deciding to leave the organization.

Stay interviews are exactly what their name suggests – they ask employees why they stay.

In a stay interview, an employer gives their employee an opportunity to share what they like and dislike about working for their organization. Employers then have the ability to address or resolve the issues that may prompt their talented employees to seek “greener” pastures.

During times of intense transition, like during a merger or acquisition, conducting stay interviews communicates to your team that the organization’s leadership is invested in and attentive to their needs and concerns.

If you’re considering conducting stay interviews with your employees, remember to document your interviews and share any changes you are able to make based upon the feedback you receive. You should also clearly communicate if any desired changes are not able to be made along with the reasoning, when appropriate.

In a time when many employees feel uncertain about their professional future, stay interviews enable leaders to build trust in their team, helping employees to feel reassured and reducing the likelihood of their departure.

2. Grow: Offer Leadership Opportunities

The opportunity to grow professionally and personally through training and leadership development is often as valuable to employees as their compensation.

During a merger or acquisition, you may not be able to offer all of your team members hefty compensation increases to encourage them to stick with you through the bumps of the transition.

But, you may be able to offer your employees new training programs to help them adjust to the changes they’re experiencing in their roles, team, and culture.

Educating your employees with effective training programs provides them with the skills and knowledge they need to be confident in their ability to meet expectations in their new environment.

Inviting promising employees into leadership development programs is another impactful way to reassure your team members of their capacity to grow along with the organization.

If employees can refine their existing talents or be exposed to new skills through quality training programs, then their need to look elsewhere for the growth they value becomes limited.

If you need ideas for types of trainings you could offer your employees, check out our list of training programs on our website here.

3. Encourage: Foster Team Fun

There’s no way around it – mergers and acquisitions can be stressful, tense, and down-right difficult for everyone.

Employees and leadership alike may find themselves feeling uncertain, overwhelmed, or anxious about the changes taking place, and it’s often this emotional distress that prompts them to search for other opportunities.

Reservations are to be expected, but if they’re left unchecked, they can be detrimental to the retention of your team members.

As an employer, your model of positivity and perseverance is what will develop your team’s confidence in the future growth of your organization – and encourage them to stick around to be a part of it.

Shifting your team’s focus to the “bright side” doesn’t have to be complicated – a great place to start is with some good old-fashioned team fun.

Consider offering extra team-building activities before, during, and after the “effective dates” of your merger or acquisition to remind your team that the changes ahead can be celebrated, instead of dreaded.

Something as “silly” as a balloon animal artist or as involved as a catered lunch could be an effective reminder to your employees that you appreciate their support and want to help them have a positive transition.

You could even splurge on a massage therapist, a few fluffy therapy dogs, or a group trip to a local salt cave to help lower the stress levels of your team and bring a little relaxation into the environment. Just make sure to consider the potential liability that may accompany these activities and arrange the necessary precautions to protect your business.

Check out our blog to get tips for planning a successful team building event for your company.

Focus On The Future

Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid upsetting, frustrating, or losing a few of your team members as your organization transitions through a merger or acquisition.

But, you can commit to embracing the changes and tackling the challenges that are in store – hopefully inspiring many of your team members to do the same.

If you need a partner to help your team successfully navigate times of transition in your business, give us a call at 877-753-0970 or contact us on our website here.

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about the author: Integrity HR

Integrity HR's human resources blog is filled with expert advice (and sassy commentary) on those everyday employment issues that give business owners and managers HR headaches. From tips on how to retain key employees to how to write your dress code policy, our blog has all the HR resources you need. We provide these services.     HR Outsourcing, HR Consulting Projects, Professional Recruiting Services, HR Audit & Operational Review, Employee Training Programs, Compensation Consulting, Leadership Development & Coaching, Succession Planning