Navigating change—mergers and acquisitions (M&A) edition

Whether your company is being acquired, acquiring or merging with another corporation, it can be among the most stressful times for both leadership and employees. Let’s face it, even if it’s in the best interest of all involved, change isn’t easy.

I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of M&A projects over the years and know that for every business challenge there is a communications opportunity – especially when it comes to the complexities of mergers and acquisitions. An effective communications strategy can be the difference between one that keeps day-to-day operations running smoothly and one that leaves employees confused, anxious or disengaged.

The good news is that planning and delivering an effective communications strategy is easier than you think. It comes down to understanding the terms of the merger or acquisition, who needs to be informed, what communication vehicles will be used to deliver the messaging and overall timing of the deal. Staying focused and organized is critical when it comes to not only gathering the necessary information, but also communicating it.

To make things even easier, I put together a simple checklist to help you quickly get organized and ultimately begin to develop your communications strategy.

Have you checked the boxes when it comes to planning your merger or acquisition?

Has the M&A team been identified?

Have you identified your internal and external stakeholders?

Do you know what the most effective ways to reach your audiences are?

Have you identified the greatest fears of management, employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, media?

Do you have messaging prepared for each of your audiences?

Have you identified and trained spokespeople or ambassadors to help manage your messages?

Have you created a communications plan that includes pre-, during and post-transition communications?

Do you know how the merger or acquisition will impact your brand? Your website? Your collateral?

Do you have a means for tracking and responding to sentiment in the news or on social media?

As you navigate through this checklist, you are well on your way to developing and executing a successful communications strategy plan. Whether your company is large or small, public or private, you must have the right people on your team to help navigate this major change for your business. By understanding how to effectively communicate and manage change, you will be able to keep your internal and external stakeholders informed and engaged while keeping your day-to-day business operations running smoothly.

An M&A project will always feel less intimidating when the right preparations have been made, but in the bustle leading up to a big business move, you still may feel that you need help getting everything done correctly and on time. Have an upcoming M&A project you want to talk through, or have questions based on the M&A Checklist you just read through? Reach out, and let’s chat.