Best Practices for Internal Communications During Mergers & Acquisitions
2019 is set to be another active year of mergers and acquisitions. For leaders and employees involved in these transactions, it means more changes to manage and higher levels of uncertainty – even if the change is positive.
It’s important for leaders to acknowledge these changes and also help employees move forward. Linhart PR advises adopting several internal communications best practices throughout the transition:
Commit to One Voice
The two merging companies must agree on how to position the acquisition to employees before making any formal announcements to create clear, consistent corporate communications. Leaders should incorporate the same type of language in messaging, agree on what information to share or withhold, and setting up clear internal processes for review and approval.
Explain the “Why”
Clearly communicate the rationale for the merger or acquisition to put the deal in context for employees. Following this rationale, leaders should then help employees understand the direction, goals, vision and values that are guiding the path forward. Doing so helps unify employees and create a culture built on common core values.
Identify Specific Changes
The most important information employees want to know is how they will be affected by the change. Communicate corporate changes by defining what’s changing and what is remaining the same. This messaging construct offers a practical method to offer reassurance (e.g. benefits are unchanged; your team’s role remains the same) and set expectations (e.g. the company name is changing; there are new leaders in particular departments).
Understandably, some questions may not have immediate answers. However, leadership should aim to communicate pertinent information soon after it becomes available.
Overall, change can be like a grieving process: People need to say goodbye to the old before they can embrace the new. Read the blog from Linhart PR to find more in-depth insights and guidance for managing internal communications during a merger or acquisition.
Founded in 1996, Linhart PR is a national PR, corporate communications and digital media strategy firm serving clients nationally and internationally. The firm was recognized as one of the best of its size in the nation by PR Week in 2012, was a winner of the 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces award sponsored by Inc. Magazine, and was named 2011 Small Business of the Year from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.