Bringing Companies Together Through Post-Transaction Integration
By Paul Ursich
You’ve just spent months doing due diligence and negotiating terms, and you’ve finally acquired another company — or your company has been acquired. Finally, the hard work is done.
Or so you thought. Now begins the process of integrating the two companies, bringing together people, processes and procedures, culture, technologies and management responsibilities as seamlessly as possible.
Here are the next steps to managing the post-transaction integration process. If you are starting off with procedural issues read our advice on how to assess and resolve business process issues.
Ideally, this starts before the deal is even announced. The acquiring party should take the lead, appointing subject experts from both companies to assist with HR, IT, accounting and the overall business process optimization. If you’re initiating these actions before the sale is finalized, consider implementing confidentiality agreements before teams go to work.
Quickly resolve management issues
Who’s in charge? Make sure that executives know the scope of their new responsibilities, or whether they’ll be involved at all. Avoid keeping secrets. If people feel their positions will soon be eliminated, it negatively impacts productivity and morale.
Respect diverse cultures
This is the area where you really have to tread carefully. Every company has its own culture and values. I once worked with a company that was bought by one of the nation’s leading technology firms. While we’d always had a policy of reporting to the office daily, our acquiring company was developing a flexible policy that allowed employees to work remotely. Most of our people probably thought it was a positive change, even though it impacted how we scheduled meetings and communicated face to face.
Establish the brand
New branding can change everything from business cards and letterheads to logos and taglines to sales and advertising strategies. If a much larger organization is acquiring your business, your former company might simply assume the larger partner’s brand image.
Implement the new company vision
This is a long-term function that involves aligning your new company’s goals, culture, management methods and styles, pay and job review structures and other HR functions. This will probably only happen once all major players are in place and your people have started to work together comfortably. Don’t rush it. True transitioning takes time and effort. Be patient and let your new company come together organically.