Because M&A is people business, informing and involving people concerned with the program is very important. As opposed to many other workstreams, Communications need to be at the ready on Day 1: People will want to know what is going on immediately with the announcement of the acquisition or merger, not later.
Early employee information should center around
- the meaning and external impact of the project,
- what is driving the value to customers behind the transaction,
- what is expected from the employees,
- how and when the implementation of the vision will take place.
While Day 1 communication is a first-level leadership task, ongoing communication can be, and should be, spread out through different organizational levels.
To a normal employee, change is worrying. That’s the reason that common questions target the change aspects of the program. Employees are very little concerned with what the acquisition means to the company and to financial earnings. They worry about the meaning of the transaction to them, personally and professionally. Ongoing communication should address these questions respectfully, and openly. Difficult discussions must not be avoided.
HR may function as the communication center and catalyst, but communication must not be an exclusive HR task. Deployment of various communication tools in parallel has proven to be most effective.