Advice to employees of an acquired company

Question

What is the best advice for employees of a company that is in the process of being acquired?

Answer

My advice is specific to the level of the employee…

If you are an executive:
1. Get your head around the fact that you may not have a place in the new organization and that is okay.
2. Do everything you can to ensure a smooth transition and to ensure your team is treated fairly.
3. Be the communication conduit to the team so they know what to expect and you can help retain key talent and prevent a the productivity dip that happens because everyone is running around worried about the future.
4. If your role exists in the acquiring company, don’t try to “win” the position over the other person. It will become combative, tank the relationship between the rest of the staff, and hasten your departure. I have never seen coming on strong work.
5. Brush up your network and resume just in case, but don’t even think of leaving before the integration is done or you are otherwise released.
6. Remain honestly positive. The acquisition had a business case, and although you may lose your job, you have to be able to support the goal or have a discussion about a departure.

If you are a mid level manager or staff person:
1. Follow most all of the advice above about being flexible, embracing change, demonstrating value, and especially Williams advice about getting to know the new company.
2. Learn the lingo of acquisitions so when you hear that they expect to save $5M on back office related synergies you know that the people in finance, HR, and IT are going to be gone asap.
3. If you work in a common area for synergies, odds are that your name is already on a list, so be realistic and start looking for a new role even before the acquisition closes. This does not mean you have to leave, but you benefit from a realistic view and a head start.
4. Although this is your job, don’t take it personally. There is not much you can do to change the situation and if you get bitter it will make you miserable, cause your departure that much sooner, and will seep out during job interviews making you virtually unhireable.

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