Mergers, Layoffs, and Growth- 5 Steps To Proactively Manage Work Changes

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Patrice Barber

Patrice Barber, CEO of Career CNX and National Speaker

The world of work is constantly evolving, and changes such as mergers, layoffs, and growth can be both exciting and challenging. While these events can bring new opportunities for employees and companies alike, they can also create stress and uncertainty. By proactively managing these changes, organizations and individuals can mitigate the negative impacts and maximize the benefits of these transitions.

Here are 5 key steps that organizations and employees can take to proactively manage work changes and ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Company Mergers

The impact of company mergers can be both positive and negative, and whether a merger is considered successful depends on various factors and perspectives. 

Some of the potential benefits of company mergers include:

  • Increased efficiency: By combining resources and eliminating duplicated functions, merged companies may be able to operate more efficiently and save costs.
  • Improved competitiveness: Mergers can create larger, more diversified companies that are better equipped to compete in the global marketplace.
  • Access to new markets and customers: Mergers can provide companies with access to new markets and customers that they may not have been able to reach on their own.

On the other hand, there are also potential drawbacks of company mergers, such as:

  • Job losses: Mergers can result in layoffs as companies look to cut costs by eliminating redundancies.
  • Reduced competition: Mergers can reduce competition in an industry, which can lead to higher prices for consumers.
  • Culture clashes: Merging two companies can result in conflicts between employees and differences in corporate culture, which can be difficult to resolve.

Inevitably, a merger or acquisition is all about change. Effective change management is the key to success when the companies are merged. According to McKinsey and Company in their article Managing and Supporting Employees Through Cultural Change in Mergers

A holistic, effective integration program should proactively address the full scope of changes your employees will experience in an integration

Whether a company merger or acquisition is considered successful or not depends on the specific circumstances and objectives of the companies involved, as well as the broader economic and regulatory context.

Be an Employer of Choice During Layoffs

During layoffs, it’s especially important for a company to maintain a positive reputation as an employer. This can be challenging, but it’s possible if the company handles the process transparently, fairly, and with empathy for affected employees.

Here are some steps that can help:

  • Be transparent: Provide clear and consistent information to all employees about why layoffs are necessary and what the company’s plans are for the future. This can help reduce speculation and rumors, which can harm employee morale and create a sense of distrust.
  • Be fair: Ensure that layoffs are conducted fairly and objectively. This means using consistent criteria to determine who is impacted, and ensuring that the process is not biased against any particular group of employees.
  • Provide support: Offer affected employees support during the transition, such as severance packages, outplacement services, and access to mental health resources. This helps minimize the financial and emotional impact of the layoffs.
  • Maintain open communication: Keep employees informed about what is happening and what they can expect in the future. This helps reduce anxiety and uncertainty.
  • Show empathy: Treat employees with dignity and respect throughout the process. Showing empathy and understanding can go a long way in maintaining positive relationships with employees, even after they have left the company.

In “Layoffs That Don’t Break the Company,” the Harvard Business Review notes a section of policy from the French company Michelin: 

Whenever possible, staff at the entities concerned and their representatives are invited to work together to seek and suggest solutions for restoring competitiveness and reducing overcapacity, which may open up an alternative to closing an activity or site. When restructuring is unavoidable, it must be announced as soon as possible and carried out according to the procedures negotiated with the staff representatives.

By being transparent and fair with staff, a company can help maintain its reputation as an employer of choice, even during layoffs. This can be important for attracting and retaining top talent in the future, as well as for preserving the company’s brand and reputation.

Minimize Growing Pains

Growing pains can be a major challenge for a company undergoing significant growth, but there are several strategies that can help minimize these challenges:

  • Plan ahead: Anticipate the potential issues that may arise as your company grows and develop strategies to address them before they become problems. This includes creating a solid infrastructure, hiring additional staff, and preparing for increased demand for your products or services.
  • Build a strong culture: A strong company culture can help keep employees motivated and productive, even as your company grows rapidly. Encourage open communication, transparency, and collaboration, and celebrate the successes of your team.
  • Foster clear communication: As your company grows, it’s important to keep everyone informed and aligned. Establish clear communication channels and ensure that everyone is aware of the company’s goals, plans, and priorities.

By taking these steps, you can help minimize the challenges of growth and set your company up for continued success.

Succession Planning

A succession plan is a critical component of any business or organization. It outlines the steps to take in the event of an unexpected departure of key personnel, such as retirement, resignation, or death. 

Keep in mind that succession planning is not a one-off event. According to Investopedia in Succession Planning Basics: How It Works, Why It’s Important

Succession planning is a contingency plan. It is not a one-time event. Rather, it should be reevaluated and updated each year or as changes dictate within the company.

Here are some steps you can take to prepare a succession plan for possible exits:

  • Identify key roles: Start by identifying the critical roles within your organization that, if left unfilled, would have a significant impact on the business.
  • Evaluate existing talent: Assess the skills and abilities of your current employees to determine who has the potential to step into key roles in the event of an exit.
  • Develop a talent management strategy: Create a talent management strategy that includes the identification and development of potential successors for key roles. This could involve mentorship programs, cross-training, and job shadowing.
  • Document the plan: Create a written plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of an exit, including who will assume the responsibilities of the departing employee, how their duties will be temporarily covered, and what resources will be required to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Regularly update the plan: Review and update your succession plan on a regular basis to ensure that it remains relevant and up-to-date.

Create a comprehensive succession plan that helps you effectively manage the departure of key personnel and minimize the disruption to the business.

Stay Positive

As a leader, it’s important to stay positive and maintain a positive attitude. Your attitude has a ripple effect on your team and the overall workplace culture. 

Here are strategies to use to stay personally positive:

  • Practice Self-Care: Make sure to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. This helps you maintain physical and emotional well-being, and keeps you in a positive state of mind.
  • Cultivate a Growth Mindset: Instead of viewing challenges as obstacles, try to see them as opportunities for growth and development. This mindset shift helps you maintain a positive attitude and increase your resilience.
  • Surround Yourself with Positivity: Seek out positive people, engage in activities that bring you joy, and minimize exposure to negative influences.
  • Embrace Failure: Embracing failure as a learning opportunity rather than viewing it as a personal failure can help you maintain a positive attitude and stay motivated.

Remember, staying positive is a habit that takes time and effort to develop. But by incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you build a strong foundation for personal positivity.

For many people, change is very distressing. For more tips on how to handle difficult conversations, check out this article Sympathetic or Just Plain Mean? Insider Tips for Difficult Conversations.

CareerCNX helps smooth the inevitable change in an organization as well as in your career. 

If you are struggling with big changes in your workplace,  our team is here to help. Schedule a time with our team to discuss options.

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