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In part I of this series of blogs on Mergers and Acquisitions Communications, I discussed several external questions on communicating being acquired by, or acquiring a, company were addressed. When there are mergers and acquisitions, sometimes the most important public is overlooked when preparing communications plans – employees. If you leave communicating the acquisition to Human Resources alone, you’ve made a grave mistake. PR professionals can help craft answers to the questions everyone has from either side of an acquisition.
Many of the external questions about mergers and acquisitions will also be shared with an internal audience. To make it easy, the internal questions are broken down to “us” and “them” categories (and some of those questions are also the same, where the answers might be different).
In many cases, the answers are specific to the particular individual, so small group meetings or even individual meetings between employees and managers should be held to address more specific, individual questions.
Create specific plans if the elimination of a product line is planned or certain individuals are targeted for layoff. Human Resources and Sr. Management need to work together to communicate these intentions following mergers and acquisitions to those affected and offer appropriate severance packages and/or bonus packages to keep employees on until the deal closes.
- Why are we buying this company?
- How will this company be integrated into our business?
- Does this acquisition affect the projects I am working on? How?
- Is my job safe? This is actually the top question for a number of employees and the leading source of “grapevine” rumors that can hurt.
- Will I be getting more responsibility?
- Will I be getting more resources/budget to handle additional responsibility?
- Are we looking to buy any other companies?
- Explain why this is a good deal for the company.
- Why are we being acquired instead of going IPO?
- Why is this deal good for us?
- Who is the acquiring company? Tell me more about them?
- What will the new organizational structure be?
- Is my job safe? What is my career path?
- Am I still reporting to my boss?
- What changes will happen here?
- What happens to my product line?
- What happens to my customers?
- What does this deal mean to my options/compensation/benefits?
- When will this be completed?
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