The increasing number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) of small regional firms validates it as a viable business growth strategy. However, too often we see mergers or acquisitions not attain full potential in a timely manner due to productivity downturn, customer attrition or loss of fundamental people. Establishing a strategic plan that handles communication following a merger or acquisition is crucial to avoiding some of these outcomes.
Why is communication important?
Employees, suppliers and customers are arguably the most affected when such arrangements are concluded. However, it is how employees deal with and respond to such changes that will determine supplier and customer experiences.
Without a clear, effective and direct communication strategy, people may waste their time and energy on unproductive and potentially harmful endeavours like speculation and worrying about the future. If these experiences and emotions are not addressed at an employee level, they can have a massive impact on supplier retention and even corporate reputation. Do not allow this to happen in your organisation. Use the following takeaway points to build and implement a robust communication strategy during your merger or acquisition.
1. Define your stakeholders and schedule when they should hear the news
M&A organisations are most susceptible to misconstrued messages immediately before and after finalising the deal. It is important to define the list of stakeholders and prioritise who should hear particular information first. It is prudent to let your employees know about a particular decision before customers or the market. When you wish to bring such information to the public, your customers should hear it from you and not read it in the dailies. This shows that you value their relationship with you.
2. Create a timeline
It’s understandable that employees may be fearful of their future, and will want to know what will be happening and when. They also need to know when a particular stage has been completed. On top of that, sensitive communication of the physical changes which they may encounter, such as new logos, company mottos or provision of products or services, will help win their support for a successful merger.
3. Maintain a specific number of messages for all stakeholders
On average, people remember only three to four key communicated messages. Further to that, you can boil down each message into three fundamental points and consistently pass them on to your stakeholders via all communication forums, whether meetings, staff bulletins, letters, email or face to face.
4. Continuously answer questions
Employees are likely to face questions from families, friends, colleagues and other people who know where they work. Holding meetings to gauge the kinds of questions that are asked can be helpful. Thereafter, providing a crib sheet of answers to frequently asked questions gives them an opportunity to respond with confidence in a way which doesn’t jeopardise the future of your M&A. An enterprise social network can help you collate queries.
5. Create a high-level strategy
Make this plan iterative to avoid being on the receiving end of responding to already known information. You might need the help of experienced specialists who can help you build a framework to guide streamlined communications. This communications framework can work well around employees, project-related communications or even corporate top-down messages. Such a design strategy can help create a consistent, shared communications plan in the new merger or acquisition.
vLinkD has experienced specialists in mergers and acquisitions who can build initiatives and cohesiveness across your organisation. As performance-focused strategists, we bring together effective marketing and communications strategies to increase your probability of success and profit. Call us today if you need streamlined solutions for communication, operations, marketing and sales of your merger or acquisition.