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4 min read

The Human Side of Mergers and Acquisitions

When your company is acquired by a larger entity and merges with that buyer, it can be an extremely exciting time for your business. However, there is a human side of this transaction that must be handled with grace and professionalism, as tough decisions and hurdles will lie ahead after the integration process. Horizon’s in-depth blog explores how companies can handle their Human Resources tasks that come alongside a merger or acquisition, such as culture differences, layoffs, staff repositioning, and more.  

What are Mergers and Acquisitions?

Mergers and acquisitions are a process through which ownership of a business or parts of a business are consolidated or handed off to another company or entity. They happen all the time in the business world; they’re done for any number of strategic and financial reasons, from financial or competitive expedience for one company, or because both businesses mutually agree that they would benefit from a merger. The process of navigating a merger or acquisition can be very complicated for all sectors of a company. Read on to learn more! 


Mergers and Acquisitions Can Bring About Large Changes

Mergers and acquisitions are often discussed in terms of their financial ramifications, and for good reason – the merging of two companies or other entities can mean huge changes both in the company and outside of the company. But mergers and acquisitions can also bring about major changes for your staff. A merger might involve shakeups in terms of who they report to, who they work with, and the kind of work they’re responsible for, as well as a change in management styles. These large changes can be difficult to contend with, but they don’t have to be.  

What is HR's Role in the Merger/Acquisition Process?

Your company’s human resources department is actually integral in the process of navigating mergers and acquisitions. After all, the M&A process means a completely new organizational structure for your team, which can impact them in a number of drastic ways. As such, HR is primarily responsible for guiding the staff through what these changes will mean for their day-to-day lives in the workplace and helping them adjust to any problems that might arise as a result. 

Helping with the Human Elements of Company Changes

While mergers and acquisitions may primarily be a strategic, high level financial choice, there is a very human side to the entire process. Given the amount of changing policies, positions, and organizational structures with the acquiring company, mergers or acquisitions can be confusing and even stressful for your team if the changes aren’t adequately carried out. 

Implementing New Policies After a Merger or Acquisition

Human resources can be responsible for ensuring that new policies are implemented properly throughout the entire company. This can mean ensuring that policy changes are thoroughly communicated to staff, coordinating or leading training sessions regarding new policy expectations, and clarifying any misunderstandings regarding new policies. Additionally, your company’s HR department may be responsible for determining what action will be taken should policies not be followed as desired.  

Communication with Current and New Employees

After a merger, your human resources department will act as the bridge between the new and the old employees, ensuring that everyone is on the same page in terms of what this new stage of the company will look like for them. Keeping clear and consistent lines of communication open between new and existing team members and the human resources department can help smooth out the bumps in the process! 

Horizon has been a trusted partner for businesses across the country since 1997; check out our full list of solutions here!

Dealing with a Culture Shift

Mergers and acquisitions usually entail a massive shift in company culture since so many new people with their own unique way of doing work will be migrating to your office. This kind of shakeup can be very positive for your team in lots of ways, but it can also be the cause of misunderstandings and tension between employees. Say one side of a merger has certain expectations for the manner in which work is done, and the other side has another – this can lead to a sense that maybe others in the office are not working as hard, or that they are slacking on their responsibilities. Dealing with such a culture shift will be one of the more challenging human aspects of mergers. 

Employee Retention and Possible Downsizing

Unfortunately, with such large changes to company culture, workplace relationships, and workplace responsibilities, employees can be left feeling dissatisfied. As such, a major goal for your company’s HR department in the midst of a merger or acquisition process should be employee retention. Promoting a positive work environment, helping to solve issues as they come up, and keeping your team satisfied can help cut down on unintended losses of talent.

On the other hand, such a huge change may mean that company costs may need to be re-evaluated and reduced to keep the business’s financial goals on track, and that can mean terminating some members of your team. 

Negotiating New Compensation, Benefits Packages, etc.

Mergers and acquisitions may mean negotiating (or re-negotiating) compensation, benefits, and other terms of employment for your team. Though any human resources department should be reasonably well-versed in contract negotiations, your company will need to be prepared to negotiate a large number of contracts, in addition to potentially re-negotiating with current employees.  

Legal Considerations

The merger or acquisition process also entails navigating a number of legal considerations. A company’s human resources department will need to stay on top of key factors, such as the federal or state guidelines regarding termination of employee, on-boarding, and retraining of employees. The mass on-boarding and/or termination of several employees means being up-to-date with the law and handling all processes in an ethical manner. 


Mergers and Acquisitions Can Be a Big Challenge for Companies

Mergers and acquisitions are undoubtedly a major stumbling block for companies in spite of their strategic importance. They bring to the table massive considerations for all departments, but especially human resources, as they navigate the more person-oriented side of major changes. It can be hard for a singular HR department to manage on their own, no matter how competent and experienced they are with best practices. 

Horizon is a Trusted Partner for Payroll and HR Support

Whether you’re looking to make as big of a change as a merger or acquisition, or whether you’re simply looking to improve your company, Horizon offers exceptional payroll and HR support services. With our trusted payroll and HR solutions, we’ll be able to keep you and your team on track as you navigate all of the exciting new challenges involved in human resources.  

Solutions for Payroll, Benefits Management, Hiring/Onboarding, and More

We offer a number of high-quality solutions for businesses in all kinds of industries, from solutions for implementing benefits, hiring and onboarding solutions, and more! With our help, your company can streamline those integral yet tedious processes for your HR department.  

Contact Us Today for a Consultation

Interested in learning more about our top-rated services? Contact us today for a free consultation for your business! 

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