Your merger’s success starts and ends with employees.
Mergers bring massive changes and even fears to employees of both institutions. When employees learn about upcoming mergers, their first reactions understandably triggers concerns about what will happen to their careers, commutes, benefits, and families.
Bank leaders need to prioritize effective and empathetic internal merger communications to help their employees understand what’s happening and their critical role during the merger process.
The speed and efficacy of how leaders address employee concerns set the tone for the entire merger process. It dictates how peers, customers, and other constituencies view the merger. Nothing digs a hole faster than silence or noncommittal answers from management when employees have lingering M&A questions. Assuaging staffers’ fears will help them better manage the change and reassure customers who also have concerns.
1. The leadership of both institutions must follow the same playbook and communicate the same information to their employees.
2. If possible, employees need to learn about the merger before the general public—especially customer-facing staff—before they develop assumptions.
3. Develop a secure online hub expressly for the acquired institution employees that becomes the primary source of merger-related information. Update it daily even if there is no new information to share.
4. Offer a forum that enables employees to ask questions about the merger. It’s normal and OK not to have all the answers right away, but it’s essential to let employees know that their concerns will be addressed.
5. Implement merger management teams.
6. Create employee advocacy channels, resolve inconsistencies together and keep employees in the loop about M&A decisions as they are made.