You’ve seen the headlines and heard the stories. Many mergers or acquisitions fail not because of inept management or inadequate due diligence, but because of HR-related issues, such as a culture clash between the two merging companies' workforces. Here are some tips to help ensure a smooth transition:
 
  • Don’t retrofit. The newly merged workplace should not be created by trying to shoehorn one culture into another. It should become a completely new organization. Start fresh.
  • Simplify, simplify. Streamline and reduce the number of titles, levels and pay grades.
  • Include and empower. Invite your people to participate in committees to create the new organization. Employees are more likely to support a culture they had a role in creating.
  • Keep adapting. When you are flexible in your HR practices, you’re better prepared to deal with unexpected events. Introduce the new organization incrementally over time, and create committees to gain feedback and suggestions for improvement.
 

Game Plan

A solid first step in achieving the above: Know your people and their skills. Study and record all your company’s disparate jobs. Also study functions, skills and qualifications needed to perform those jobs. Then structure job categories and pay scales. That makes it easier to undertake initiatives for recruiting, training and establishing career paths.
 
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