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Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 8.33.36 PMQuestion: I manage a division of a clean tech company in Arizona.  We’ve gone through a period of rapid growth, including a merger that is about to close with a much larger company.  With so much change happening so quickly, how can we keep the communication lines open with our employees?



Answer:  There’s nothing like a merger to inspire fear within an organization. Employees often become aware that something is in the air long before the merger is announced.  If they feel management is keeping information from them, they understandably start to feel anxious.  Productivity drops as employees waste time sharing rumors and worrying about job security.

Don’t let the merger due diligence work distract you from getting a transition plan in place. If you wait to work on the plan until after the deal is signed, you’ve waited too long.  The plan should include key messages that contain useful and comprehensive information, face-to-face meetings with those most affected by the deal, and a detailed implementation timeline.

Meanwhile, share all relevant information with employees as soon as feasible.  The sooner everyone can process the change, the more seamless the integration can take place.

Employee morale will take less of a hit if you are as open and honest as possible.  It’s much better to say, “I don’t know” instead of using half-truths. Don’t be tempted to adopt merger-speak like “redundancies,” “synergies,” and “merger of equals” as you talk with employees.

Finally, remember that nonverbal communication speaks volumes.  Don’t let managers hide in their offices behind closed doors or huddle together in a war room for days on end.  Encourage them to stay visible and be aware of their body language as they walk the halls.  A non-anxious presence will go a long way in communicating stability.


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