M&A: How to achieve a successful culture integration

UK merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is fast becoming known as the go-to method for achieving diversification, market growth and increased profit margins. However, in an effort to focus on these areas, the integration of the two separate company cultures can be forgotten. This can lead to significant problems in the future. So, what can businesses do to ensure that culture is protected?

Identify a target culture and plan to achieve it

In the wake of M&A activity, organisations should identify their ideal company culture. They should then decide the actions that need to be taken to achieve it. This starts with an initial evaluation of the current culture as well as a business health-check of key markers such as employee motivation. Once an assessment has been made, it is then possible to determine how the planned changes will affect the business’ four key areas:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Systems
  • Infrastructure

Satisfy the workforce

Failing to consider company culture during M&A activity can leave employees feeling alienated from the organisation. As a result it can have a direct impact on performance and wellbeing. With this in mind, HR teams must ensure that employees are engaged in the process of change and understand its trajectory. A happy team will ensure that strategic targets are met, and employee turnover doesn’t skyrocket.

Manage the project

Culture change, like any other project, requires clear and decisive management. The support of a Portfolio Management Office (PMO) can provide stakeholders with increased visibility across initiatives. It can enable them to quickly address any potential HR issues that may arise. Furthermore, it can also help to drive effective communication. This means that everyone is aware of any developments or changes to working practices.

It will take time

Organisations need to appreciate that it can take it can take up to 12 months to fully integrate a new company culture. Getting the process right the first time is critical. In order to prepare for this, organisations should provide an appropriate buffer period and seek external advice at the earliest opportunity.

 To discuss how to make the most of any M&As that your company may be planning, please contact Peter Marsden, Debora Marras or another member of our team.

By Peter Marsden

Principal Consultant

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