Skip to main content
Article

The importance of employee experience in M&A

Mergers and Acquisitions|Integrated Wellbeing
N/A

By Kelly Karger and Jim Leininger | July 15, 2020

Measuring employee sentiment through pulse surveys, focus groups, high-performer interviews, and others, is key to ensure the value of a merger or acquisition.

Unlock More

About our ‘Best Practices: Measuring Employee Experience in M&A’ series

Our four-part “Best Practices: Measuring Employee Experience in M&A” series covers three proven tools that can help increase the likelihood of M&A success: pulse surveys, virtual focus groups and high-performer interviews.

The first thing most people think about when their company announces a merger or acquisition transaction (of any type, including divestiture or joint venture) is change. Inevitably, there will be change at some level for all employees of both the buyer and target companies. The degree of change varies significantly across the organization — for business units, teams and individuals. Companies most successful in leading change do so by focusing on the employee experience and how it is impacted at the local level. These “change masters,” according to Willis Towers Watson’s recent research on the topic, are characterized by their ability to:

  • Foster trust in leadership
  • Provide a clear sense of direction
  • Enable teams to focus on the customer
  • Reward high performance
  • Invite employee feedback

Understanding the employee experience on these and other change behaviors is key to a successful transition. In these situations, measuring employee sentiment through a variety of listening activities — pulse surveys, focus groups, high-performer interviews, and the like — will help ensure the value of the deal over time.

The fundamental goals of these activities are to:

  • Monitor and address employee sentiment and wellbeing
  • Gather insights on the existing cultures and identify alignment needs
  • Gauge reactions to specific organizational changes
  • Expose problems and concerns early on, before they escalate
  • Highlight “hot spots” in the organization in need of immediate action
  • Track the impact of interventions and communication over time

The deal ‘life cycle’

All transactions follow a deal life cycle. Similarly, the work experience of employees also follows this life cycle as the deal progresses, whether they are from the buyer or target company. Listening activities also play a role throughout the deal life cycle. The activities need to be planned, designed and executed to achieve these goals. This includes using the rich content gathered in the transition process to guide the transition team, and therefore delivering return on investment.

Through this series of articles, we’ll explore a variety of tools used to measure the employee experience during mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and bring this critical perspective to bear on your integration actions. We’ll cover three principal tools for measuring employee experience: pulse surveys, virtual focus groups and high-performer interviews.

Next in our Best Practices: Measuring Employee Experience in M&A series: 4 critical considerations when conducting pulse surveys.

Authors

Senior Director, Global M&A

Director — Talent Management and Organizational Development

Contact Us
Related content tags, list of links Article Mergers and Acquisitions Wellbeing

Related Solutions