If you are the VP of Operations of a company that just acquired another institution, I feel your pain. Having been on both sides of an integration management initiative in the banking industry, the most common post-acquisition issues from Day 1 are:
- Fear of the unknown
- Staff reaction
- Culture shock
- Duplication of positions
- Variations in practices
- Credit products and services alignment
- Documentation review
- Integration of credit policy and procedures
During the first 5 days there will be unrest, uncertainty and rumours and speculation. A clear communications strategy will keep everyone informed on where they fit. My approach is to stay calm and keep focussed.
Here is a quick step-by-step plan to help keep you in control in order to achieve a successful transition.
The first 5 Days
- Hold group meetings with your staff to announce the news
- Be available for individual meetings
- Provide and define the facts for staff
- Be available all day
- Have an open door policy
- Be patient and sympathetic
- Keep communications going with the staff by providing them with updates as they become available
- Provide them with information that pertains to them on an individual basis and answer their questions as much as possible
- Identify management staff to be available as the internal ‘go to people’
- Hold staff meetings and introduce the new owners and their management staff and allow time for your staff to ask questions
- Lessen the uncertainty anxiety of your staff by disclosing as much as possible via question and answer document
- Encourage staff to ask questions
- Start to prepare a 30, 60, 90 day transition plan
- Provide new information as it becomes available, that can be easily accessed on the intranet or email.
- Hold one final meeting before the weekend to provide the staff with the appropriate ‘what’s next?’ information.
Now that you’ve curbed that anxiety for the first week, you’ll have more support; people will be open to understanding and will engage in the activities that are required to help you with the management of the integration process.
I’ve prepared a handy checklist to guide you through the post-acquisition integration management process. You can download our checklist by clicking here.
My next blog posts will address what needs to be done in the weeks that follow.
I welcome your comments and questions below.