Mergers and Acquisitions: How to Ensure a Smooth Transition

2 May 2018

While there is undisputed value in mergers and acquisitions, organisations often struggle to overcome the challenges of such large-scale change. M&A activity almost always causes uncertainty and disruption in the workplace. Successful organisations embrace this opportunity, using the following strategies to thrive under pressure and build a stronger business.

Positive Workplace Culture

While management are responsible for planning and implementing mergers, ultimately employees are the ones who will act out these changes to allow the organisation to realise their vision. A positive workplace culture contributes significantly to employee’s productivity and satisfaction, and also helps to reduce turnover. According to a study by The Harvard Business Review, 70 to 90 per cent of mergers fail to meet their objectives, and one study found culture issues cause 30 per cent of these failures.

Developing a positive organisational culture while merging or acquiring businesses starts with designing policies and procedures that reflect the culture you want to create. Employees create workplace culture, but it is based on the systems put in place by leadership.


Successful M&As need to have the support of all members of the organisation, and employee resistance can badly impede progress. Open, two-way communication is imperative to getting employees on board and creating drivers of change.

After Saba Software acquired Halogen Software in 2017, Saba’s Chief People Officer Debbie Shotwell said that “Good communication, and being as honest and open as possible goes a long way towards making employees more comfortable during M&A integrations.”


Effective leadership is critical during any period of change, and M&As require strong leadership teams to guide organisations towards their vision. Strong and engaged leaders will assist in developing a shared culture, encourage communication and ensure the new organisation structure is successful.

The prospect of M&As can be daunting, but with dynamic leaders who are dedicated to communicating with their employees and building a positive culture, expansion can lead to a thriving business.

Change2020 are experts at managing culture and the human aspects of mergers and acquisitions. We understand that change can be difficult, and we can help you to provide support to your employees during this time. Contact us today so we can show you how best to implement change to achieve your organisational vision.

Kerryn Fewster

Kerryn is the Founder and Director of Change 2020. She has consulted extensively in the area of Transition and Transformation. She places emphasis on strategy development and solution implementation to minimise people and operational impacts associated with major change.

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