Creating a cohesive employee experience after a merger with strong internal communications

By Simpplr Marketing
Merging companies can create confusion and uncertainty for employees. It’s challenging to make sure employees feel secure in their positions, and then the next hurdle is ensuring that everyone feels like a team––and it’s quite a hurdle to clear. That’s why creating a cohesive employee experience after a merger is critical, and internal communications offer the missing piece of the puzzle.

Two Hands Merging Puzzle Pieces

Savvy organizations know that this process starts with keeping the lines of communication open. And this is a two-way street. Oftentimes, communication is a top-down process where employees aren’t comfortable asking questions. However, with the right internal communications and employee experience strategy in place post-merger, companies can create a space where employees feel seen and heard. And this keeps employee burnout at bay, frustrations low, and contributes to a cohesive company culture

And it starts with understanding employee sentiments during a merger.

Understanding employee sentiments surrounding mergers

Mergers are typically a challenge on the operational front, and internal communications around mergers significantly impact company culture. All too often, it’s the company culture side of things that gets neglected. And when this isn’t prioritized, employee engagement and productivity suffer.

With mergers, employees have no say in the matter, and this naturally leads to uncertainty and fear. They may wonder how their job will change. Perhaps they work with a team that is very good at collaboration and already feels cohesive, so they may fear that adding new members to that group may cause disruption.

Whatever is happening, employees will tell you if you know how to listen. According to Chron, some of the top emotions felt surrounding organizational mergers are stress, anxiety, conflict, and anger. Let’s tackle each of these in turn.

  • Stress. Uncertainty among employees reigns supreme. Questions that may be floating through their minds include: “Will I lose my job?” or “Will I like my new boss?” The unknown looms large in the fog of a merger. And these are questions that merger internal communications can ameliorate.
  • Anger. Sometimes a merger seems like an abandonment to employees, particularly if communication isn’t prioritized. And this is especially true if they feel their job is threatened, or if they aren’t secure in their own skills.
  • Conflict. Sometimes a merger means a reduction in workforce. And this can only add to an employee’s fears. They may find themselves in competition with coworkers they once worked closely with. Or they may view the new incoming workers as a threat if there’s an overlap of responsibilities.
  • Anxiety. All of the above culminates into a cloud of anxiety – like Pigpen from The Peanuts Gallery, with his dirt cloud surrounding him. That cloud will similarly follow, affecting their work and relationships with new and existing colleagues.

This can spell doom for a company’s culture, which is precisely what a study by Deloitte found to be the result of 30% of failed integrations. If you’re not paying attention to how mergers impact the way your company operates at the employee level, what looks good on paper may turn out to be a loss.

Two Hands Merging Puzzle Pieces

A great example of this is the Whole Foods and Amazon merger. Two giants in their industries coming together to make one glorious shopping baby. Sounds amazing, right? Unfortunately, this merger found Whole Foods employees walking off the job site. “The stress has created such a tense working environment,” a supervisor at a West Coast Whole Foods store said about the merger. How can this be avoided?

This is where merger internal communications go a long way in shaping the overall EX of your workers.

Internal communication is key to optimal EX during a merger

Psychologist Rollo May said, “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” Without proper internal communication before, during and after a merger, your employees will feel left in the dark. But there are ways you can keep them, and any new recruits informed while amplifying EX.

Messaging out meaningfully

Employees want to hear from leadership. It helps them feel secure in knowing what their job is, as well as knowing they’re doing it correctly. writes that “Employees want to be seen and heard by managers and executive leaders. They want recognition for a job well done.” And in the midst of an M&A, messaging out to individual employees will keep their spirits up and relieve some of that anxiety. 

An employee that feels secure in their position will be more engaged––and engagement leads to productivity. It makes sense as it’s hard to focus on doing your job when you worry that you’re about to lose it!

Providing access to timely content

In the shuffle, things can get disorganized quickly. Keeping your teams informed of policy or procedural changes helps eliminate unnecessary bumps in the road. And your merger internal communications can provide an essential assist here.

And as things change, if employees find they can’t access what they need to do their job, this causes undue stress and worry. They may assume there are new requirements they’re unaware of, or a higher standard that they’re not meeting it. All of this adds up to a negative employee experience. 

Having a modern intranet where employees can locate what they need is crucial for day-to-day functions––and it helps forge new collaborations. 

Virtual meet and greet

As mentioned, employees from different companies may feel at odds with one another, or just unsure of how to collaborate. Having an area where they can have a meet and greet of sorts offers a boost to employee morale. 

Afternoon Tea Chat: Two Employees Cheering with Tea Mugs

A social platform can be helpful in this area, especially when you have remote and deskless workers who may not meet these new employees otherwise. By creating a virtual break room, your employees will feel more comfortable with workplace collaborations. It will also reassure them that they belong in your company.

All of this and more can be easily handled with a modern intranet that is employee centric.

Learn the value of M&A internal communications

Modern intranets must be employee-centric

Intranets help keep workflow . . . well, flowing. And having the right modern intranet platform not only strengthens your employee experience but helps get things running smoothly after a merger.

And not all intranets are the same. If you hope to create a connected and inclusive workplace, you really need an intranet that has employees at its heart. 

An employee-centric intranet should include:

  • Streamlined onboarding. When two become one, employees caught in the middle need to have access to those critical policies and procedures, as well as data specific to them.
  • Employee analytics. These in-house analytics help leadership get to know their new employees––creating and maintaining a cohesive culture in the workplace. It can uncover behavioral signals, employee sentiments and feedback that signals a necessary adjustment needs to take place.
  • AI empowered personalization. Deliver targeted information to specific employees and reduce irrelevant content that they don’t need with the help of artificial intelligence. 
  • Employee chat. This is a virtual place where employees can get to know their co-workers, talk about things, and even collaborate. 

And your intranet should also provide smart searches,a self-governing engine, and more. If you’re ready to put your merger internal communications to the test, reach out for a demo. There’s always room for improvement and there’s no better time than the present to plan ahead!

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