How to Hold On to Staff After a Takeover

As the owner of a small business, you may be considering expanding through the acquisition of a competing or complementary business.  Or, you may be considering the idea of merging your business with another.  Either way, as businessman and entrepreneur Hans Eckhardt Tucson can tell you, one of the main factors to assure a successful acquisition or merger is your ability to retain the employees of both companies.  These are the people who know how the business is run on a day to day level, and who may have strategic skills or institutional knowledge.  Making sure that they feel invested in and valued by the new organization needs to be a top priority.  Here are some suggestions to help you hold onto your staff.


Acknowledge that things will not be the same

Even if there will be very few changes in the day to day work that your employees will be doing, there will be less obvious changes that will be felt by the employees of both companies.  They may be uncertain about how new lines of responsibility will be drawn, and whether the career paths that they may have counted on will still be available to them.  Both sides will need to figure out how to integrate their respective job functions and positions into a whole that makes sense, and as this is happening it will be natural for people to worry that their jobs are not secure.  They might also have loyalties to the old ways of doing things which make them resist the idea of change, or could result in tensions between the two staffs as everyone tries to imagine the new working environment and culture.  Key staff may decide to leave once they hear that a transition is underway, and others may follow shortly after if they are not satisfied that things will be well-managed. In order to minimize the loss of staff at this stage, a clear and transparent strategy for the transition should be shared with staff as soon as is reasonable.  Some staff will need to be involved earlier than others, but no one should feel broadsided by the process, and everyone should have a chance to voice concerns.

Give people a reason to stay

No matter how transparent the process is, there will certainly be some people who decide that this is a good time to move on.  However, if you have a sense that your key personnel might be among those planning to leave, consider offering them some form of incentive to stay, at leave for an agreed-upon period that will see the new organization up and running smoothly.

Don’t sugar coat it

Chances are that there will be a number of people whose jobs become redundant with a merger or takeover, and as a result these people may be let go if they are unable to find a role in the new structure.  It is very likely that they will see the writing on the wall themselves and they will be frustrated and angry if you are not forthright with them from the beginning.  Be honest about those jobs that will be phased out, and treat those people as fairly and generously as possible.  Try to avoid the infamous scenes of letting people go and giving them an hour to collect their belongings – if staff see people treated unfairly or without respect, you may not be able to stem the tide of people leaving.

Whether you are trying to integrate 10 employees or 100, do you best to minimize the loss of key staff and you will be well on your way to getting your new enterprise off on the right foot!