Change can be scary, but no corporate change comes closer to being as scary as mergers or acquisitions. For the typical IT team, every aspect of the status quo gets to be touched, from the different employee roles to intricate details of the management structure. In a world where 45% of employees prefer the status quo to change, according to Forbes, such drastic change can be a challenge.
While IT might be among the top departments that go through change, it has a pivotal role to play in increasing the success of the change process. The IT team has to improve communication, application security, and integrate payroll systems, to name a few roles. As a result, the last thing that your IT department needs during a merger or acquisition is to lose its cool.
Here is how to ensure that drastic change during mergers or acquisitions does not impair your IT department:
Manage Overlaps and Skill Gaps
The looming specter of losing their jobs post-merger might be the number one reason behind employee change resistance. Ideally, employees might want to enjoy some job security. Communicating with employees early concerning the state of their job can help calm down such fears. Assess the anticipated status of your business post-merger and identify any job overlaps and skill gaps that will come from the merger decision.
Will there be excessive employees for certain IT roles or will new roles develop post-merger? Focusing on this aspect of m&a integration planning will help identify the future of your workforce as you walk into this new stage of your organization.
Work On your Culture
The culture of your IT team might often vary from that of the other organization’s team, which can at times be a recipe for disaster. For instance, linking a team which embraces the waterfall development model to another that uses the agile application development model will lead to both teams conflicting on development methods. Luckily, culture can be a double-edged sword, which offers as many benefits as risks to your merger goals.
The trick is to address the culture issue in the early stages of the merger. Focus on business process reengineering in the initial stages to come up with a culture that supports both organizations. Creating a mindset at the start of it all will not only improve the peace of the current IT staff but also help in incorporating new employees into your organization.
Communication Is Key
Rumors will be your worst enemy during the merger. Without effective communication, employees will speak out their fears of losing jobs, reduction in paychecks, or even poor work relationships. Other than hurting workplace morale, this can easily lead to the downfall of your company post-merger.
Be sure to create open lines of communication throughout the merger process. For instance, you can hold weekly meetings with the IT team to discuss the progress of the merger.
The top-level management might be under pressure to complete the merger or acquisition process as fast as they can. This pressure is then translated to the IT department among other departments, who will often resist such pressure. The best approach to change would be to make the employees part of the decision making the process.
This collaborative approach to IT change will turn employees to proactive participants in change rather than reactive participants. It becomes tough for them to resist change while they have a role to play in it. This tip can be of more value to IT teams that often have to facilitate the integration of payment systems among other vital parts of the business.
Change might be scary, but it doesn’t have to be for the prepared IT team. Communication, collaboration and detailed planning for change can all help improve the chances of success of the merger or acquisition process. Consider the tips above to have the full support of your IT team.