You joined your firm or company because you felt a connection to the business. However, due to a merger, you suddenly find yourself working for a very different kind of organization. While management said the merger of the two firms will bring great opportunities, you and your colleagues may be scrambling around, unsure of how this will impact your jobs. Once all the roles are defined, you don’t know who your manager will be or if you’ll even have a job.
Coming to work isn’t much fun anymore, yet, in many cases, mergers can bring about some very positive results, especially when the point of the merger was most likely to develop additional skillsets and competences above and beyond what each firm had prior to the merger.
Whether the merger is positive or seems to be negative, the best scenario is that your organization is providing solid and timely information to help you and others determine the future.
Here are 10 tips to help you make it through a merger:
- Stay focused. While it may sound obvious to advise you to “do your job,” it’s easier said than done. Don’t let office gossip and the distractions of the merger keep you from being a productive employee. Stay focused on the work at hand.
- Find a way to add value. Volunteer to be a part of the transition team, take on a new client, or work with management on special projects. This will keep you in-the-know, allow you to showcase your knowledge and talent, and provide the company with much needed information.
- Embrace change. Mergers equal change in everything from policies and procedures to casual Fridays. Know that things are going to change and don’t complain about it.
- Be a team player. You don’t want to be seen as the nay-sayer or the person who bucks the system.
- Be patient. It takes time for organizations to negotiate the intricacies of a merger. Don’t make rash decisions about your role.
- Look out for yourself. While your manager may be a big advocate for you, he or she is also looking out for his or her own job. Promote your accomplishments when the opportunities arise.
- Protect client relationships. During mergers, clients can become neglected due to the internal focus of the organization. Ensure your clients get the best possible attention during this process.
- Be prepared for the best. Mergers can bring about great opportunities for your career. Stay visible, offer constructive comments when asked, and hope this means a promotion or the opportunity to lead a special project.
- Expect the worse. Face it, mergers can mean your job is at risk. Ensure your network is in place, your resume and LinkedIn profile are up-to-date, and prepare a contingency plan in case things don’t work out.
- Wait. The worst part of a merger is that it takes time to sort out. Avoid gossip and speculation and carry on.
Turn a merger into an opportunity! If your firm is large enough, it may have a human resources or human capital department. Visit with these professionals so you can feel more at ease and/or ask your manager for advice. Chances are good that if you are feeling a certain way, others may be as well and HR or management may not even be aware that there is a problem.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to read our related article, “Managing Relationships After a Promotion” in the December EDGE newsletter.