Planning, implementing, evaluating and improving continuously is the process followed during M&A. It can be challenging, but also rewarding if done well. One of the key factors for successful change management is employee involvement. This means that employees are not just passive recipients of change, but active participants in the process.
The Model of A-E-I-O-U comes into play. I – Involvement of employees is one of the key components. Employee’s involvement can have many benefits for both the organization and the employees themselves. This article elaborates on this key component of the Integration process, that needs to be adopted to tap the opportunities of leveraging the Human Capital.
While organizations consider team work as a necessary precondition for an organization to function optimally, there is an exercise carried out for every would-be integrating organization to implement team building workshops to initiate networked, matrix or a project-based organization based structural changes. Most organizations during an M&A process will need a structure that falls somewhere between pure decentralized autonomy and pure command and control – in other words, organizations need to have an architecture that encourages widespread involvement from the employees while maintaining accountabilities. It drives an important narrative that all employees are valued for their contributions to the organization. These are mindset challenges and organizations that develop the right attitude to incorporate in the design process on how to involve employees at every stage gets it right from the beginning.
Some important considerations are:
Employees should appreciate that the integration process is necessary and the changes that have to be made are appropriate. Employees should perceive that they are being consulted on the change to be introduced and implemented. During M&A integration process, employees are the ones who would be able to identify problems, gaps or lacunae and they have the potential solution for the same. Employee’s ideas are valued and considered.
Factors that facilitate a culture where employees own the integration initiative and strive for success is visible when they are empowered to participate in every stage of the change process and especially in the decision-making process. The contributions in decision making must be valued because of work experience, Skills, education and years of service.
The important aspect is for the organization to understand that the knowledge & learnings exists amongst the employees on products, customers, markets, processes, systems, norms and the most importantly how it gets done in the organization. This knowledge must be captured, and shared within the organization. Employees come with specific knowledge, experience, skills and capabilities. It is the leader’s priority to harness this knowledge management into the culture of the organization.
To create a culture of involvement - managers and the leaders must align with the employees and not isolate them. Management leadership style promotes employee involvement in change. Some of the best practices for employee involvement during M&A are:
Create a shared vision
A clear and compelling vision can help to align everyone’s goals and expectations for the change. It can also inspire and motivate employees to support the change. The vision should be communicated widely and frequently throughout the organization.
Buy-in of idea
When employees are involved in the process, they are more likely to understand and accept the changes. They feel like they have a voice and a stake in the decisions being made. They also see the benefits and opportunities of the change, rather than just the risks and challenges.
Involve employees early and often
Employees should be involved in every stage of the integration process, from initiation to execution to adoption. They should be consulted on their needs, opinions, and suggestions for improvement. They should also be involved in decision-making whenever possible.
More adaptable and flexible workforce
Change is inevitable and constant in today’s business environment. Organizations need to be able to respond quickly and effectively to changing customer needs, market conditions, and technological innovations. Employees who are used to being involved in change management are more open to new ideas and willing to try new things. They also have more skills and knowledge that can help them cope with change.
Sense of ownership
Employee involvement fosters a sense of ownership over the change process. When employees feel like they are part of the decision-making process, they are more likely to be committed to making the changes successful. They also take more responsibility and initiative for their own work and performance.
Empower employees to take action
Employees should be given the authority and resources to implement the changes in their own work areas. They should also be encouraged to experiment and learn from their mistakes.
Celebrate short-term wins
Change can be a long and difficult process. It is important to acknowledge and reward any progress and achievements along the way. This can help to maintain momentum and enthusiasm for the change.
Address any resistance or challenges
Resistance to change is natural and inevitable. It can also provide valuable feedback and insights for improvement. It is important to listen to any concerns or objections from employees, and address them with empathy and respect.
Higher employee engagement
Engaged employees are more motivated, productive, and satisfied with their work. They also have lower turnover and absenteeism rates. Effective change management promotes employee engagement by involving them in the process, providing them with timely information and feedback, offering them training and development opportunities, and recognizing their contributions
These are the benefits of employee involvement during the M&A process. However, it is not enough to just involve employees in the process. It is also important to do it in a way that is meaningful, respectful, and inclusive.
Every M&A is different and every organization has to find the best fit practices that needs to be deployed to ensure success. Creating a mutually collaborative culture through some of the best practices suggested above can ensure that the employees are involved, motivated, and committed to the success of the merger. This will benefit not only the employees, but also the organization as a whole.
Success is sweet when everything ends right. The journey is the reward