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The Importance of Employee Surveys During Mergers and Acquisitions

Posted by Insightlink on 05/22/19

A study by KPMG indicates that 83% of merger deals don’t boost shareholder returns, essentially making them a failure. It’s suggested that this is partly due to mismanagement of workplace cultures, something that can be identified and worked on early with insight provided by doing an employee survey. Happiness and engagement levels often decline during a merger or an acquisition as it’s a significant change for any business and needs to be handled with care. Employee feedback can be extremely valuable, plus it immediately shows that you care about employees during this transitoryand vulnerable time.

How do mergers and acquisitions affect employees?

An acquisition or merger will usually result in employees needing to do business in a different way, which they can resist, particularly if they don’t understand how they fit into the new business or office culture. Employees may lose confidence in the business, particularly when it comes to how secure their job is and what the future holds for the company. One survey of 10,000 U.S workers found that employees who lose confidence in a company following a merger may quit, but if new management teams can clearly communicate a clear vision for the future, they’re less likely to leave. Employee surveys during a merger or acquisition can help to identify if these potential problems are apparent in your business, which helps you to resolve them and retain staff that are happy and productive.

The importance of doing employee surveys early on

Unfortunately, employee surveys often go to the bottom of the list during a merger or acquisition as there’s a lot of other things going on. Ideally, surveys need to be one of the first things you do so that everything else that follows is based on the data you’ve collected. Any decisions you make that will affect employees should consider their opinions and insights. Doing surveys early on helps to open up an important line of communication, which can help management and decisions makers to understand how employees are feeling and what changes they hope to see. You can then act on this information, which you otherwise wouldn’t have had. If you leave surveys until later on in the process it means decisions have already been made and put in place without considering employees views. This can lead to a lot of negative emotions amongst employees that affect how a business runs and can result in employees leaving. 

Employee surveys can lead to transparent communication

Almost every merger and acquisition will require reorganization, and this will directly affect employees. Employee surveys should be used to gain insight into where strong leadership exists, where it’s needed, where employees would benefit from training, and how happy employees are. Once this information is gathered and a plan is made accordingly, it’s essential to have good communication with employees to build trust and show transparency. Research repeatedly shows that transparency is key to employee happiness. This transparency and open communication can help new employees that are gained during a merger or acquisition to feel like valuable members of your existing team, as well as showing current employees that they are still important.

Employee surveys can boost employee engagement

Engagement is how much an employee is emotionally committed to an organization and its goals. Research by Gallup shows that only 13% of employees are actually engaged at work, worldwide, and research by Temkin Group shows that the bigger a company gets, the less engaged employees become. During mergers and acquisitions, engagement levels commonly plummet as there’s a lot of uncertainty. Employee surveys can help to understand what drives employee engagement during change. Commonly, it’s being involved in decision making, understanding their career path, receiving encouragement for development, and having a two-way dialogue with management. Many employees undergoing change have a high need for connection, which is why communication is so important. Surveys can help you to identify who needs the most support in order to retain staff.

Employee surveys should always be done as early as possible during mergers and acquisitions to collect actionable data that can be used for making decisions that will keep employees engaged, happy and feeling secure in their role, which will ultimately lead to a stronger and more productive business.

Article written by Jane Fredericks


About Insightlink:

Insightlink Communications is a leader in full service employee surveys and offers a range of employee survey products and services to fit their client's needs. With over 18 years of experience, Insightlink's reputation has been built on giving organizations the knowledge they need to create effective change using their acclaimed employee research, analytics, benchmarking and survey methodologies. Insightlink's expertise in data collection reporting and analytics takes the pressure off organizations that find data overwhelming and daunting creating reports that are digestible and understandable, simple and easy to understand for organizations of any size and experience level. 

For more information please contact us at 866-802-8095 ext 705 or visit our website here.



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