When buying a business you must know that good communication is fundamental to the success of any merger and acquisition. This is particularly true during the implementation of the post-merger integration plan. David Grossman in his report The Cost of Poor Communications had this to say about bad communication: “In a survey of 400 companies with at least 100,000 employees, the average loss per company because of poor communication was set at $62.4 million per year.” Now, that’s a sizeable amount of money to lose needlessly don’t you agree?
Fortunately, with the help of a specially designated communication committee, a well-thought-out communication strategy, and practical advice from an experienced business broker it is possible to increase the odds of success in your favor. Here are seven ways to go about communicating the integration plan.
1. Create a special communication task force
The first port of call concerning the communication of the integration plan is to set up a special communication task force. This is the team that’s responsible for making sure that information reaches the employees and stakeholders on time and in a clear manner.
This task force will also avail themselves to answer questions that may arise. It is a good idea to have a separate department whose job is solely ensuring that everyone is on the same page and understands the direction that the newly merged company is taking.
2. Develop the key message to share with employees
The communication task force needs to come up with a key message that supports the integration plan which they can share with employees and stakeholders. This message should address the worries and concerns of the employees and be a positive one. Put another way, the communication task force needs to have a communication strategy and plan.
In addition, it should answer some of the difficult questions that you can anticipate from internal stakeholders and workers. As the team that’s in charge of getting the message across, being able to present a unified front and speak with one common voice will serve to strengthen and encourage all who hear the plan for the future.
3. Tailor communication according to departments
Once the communication task force has been established, the next step should be establishing what exactly each department needs to know. The message for each department in the business is different and therefore will need to be tailored or customized.
For example, what IT department will be told may be different to the message given to the sales team, product development team, and administration. What their new roles are will need to be clearly defined. Communication at this level will involve a lot more than a simple role definition, but how each person is an integral part of the success of the new entity.
4. Provide easy access and reference material
As with most mergers and acquisitions, creating a new company culture is going to take a bit of time. The old ways of doing things might not be applicable in the new setting. Manuals and reference material needs to be availed in a manner that’s convenient.
This might involve creating a physical in-house library of reference material or a portal on the company website that can be accessed by employees only or alternatively developing a company app. The first few months will be very trying and can be liked to a mass corporate on-boarding. Avoid having to constantly repeat yourself by providing these materials ahead of time.
5. Establish internal communication channels
Did you know that 60% of companies have no long-term internal communication strategy whatsoever? It’s no wonder then that these very same businesses are losing millions of dollars in revenue every year because of poor communication. What are the communication channels that you are going to use to disseminate information?
In-house meetings, emails, phone calls, conference calls, an employee app? From the word go, the task force in charge of communication must establish the protocols surrounding which communication media will be used. Whatever channels you have chosen, you’ll have to work together with those you’re communicating with to find the most effective ones that work for this new company.
6. Plan for structured feedback sessions
Simply because you have chosen certain communication media to relate the integration plan does not mean that these are set in stone. Plan for structured feedback sessions so you can hear from those receiving the information if this is how they prefer to obtain their news. As it stands, 74% of employees already complain that they feel as if they are missing out on important company information and news.
To add on, unfortunately, only 13% of employees use their intranet, therefore there is a need for better ways to communicate the integration plan than simply sending emails. During the feedback sessions, you’ll receive first-hand accounts of how your efforts at information dissemination are panning out.
7. Put in place quality assurance and risk management contingency plans
Sometimes you’ll have to go back to the drawing board as it were if you discover that the channels you had devised for communicating the integration plan aren’t as effective as you had hoped. Take it as part and parcel of the quality assurance process.
You can never know which communication channels are the best if you never take the risk to use them. Hence the need for continual assessment, feedback sessions, and evaluation with employees and key stakeholders. This will be critical in the first year of the newly merged company.
8. Receive expert advice on communicating your integration plan
Would you like to receive expert advice on how to go about communicating your integration plan with your employees? Sun Acquisitions can help. We are happy to consult with you regardless of the stage you’re at with your merger – pre-merger or post-merger. Our post-integration merger experts have decades’ worth of experience helping businesses in their mergers and acquisitions initiatives.
Get in touch with one of our advisors to learn more about how Sun Acquisitions can help during business mergers and acquisitions.
Disclaimer: Any information provided in this blog is not intended to replace legal, financial or taxation advice given by qualified professionals.