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Navigating HR and Recruitment During Mergers and Acquisitions
Industry Trends
Tuesday, Apr 09, 2019
Navigating HR and Recruitment During Mergers and Acquisitions

2018 was a big year for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), with the value of global M&A deals hitting $3.9 trillion and the fruition of high-profile deals including AT&T purchasing Time Warner, Dr Pepper Snapple Group merging with Keurig Green Mountain and Cigna’s acquisition of Express Scripts among others. According to a Deloitte report, 79% of corporate and private equity executives expect further acceleration of M&A deal flow in 2019, both in the number of transactions and in their size.

There are a multitude of complexities when two companies come together, with one of the most notable being the people involved. In fact, talent acquisition is often a driver for M&A – with 67% of executives citing it as the top driver for pursuing an acquisition according to EY’s Global Capital Confidence Barometer. It is critical that HR actively manages relationships with ‘acquired’ talent and that there are strategic recruiting plans in place for new headcount needs.

Some challenges that may be faced, include:

Defining Organization & Workforce Structure

Mergers and acquisitions are a powerful tool to accelerate quick growth. In their wake, companies often will see a boost in revenue, but they almost always result in an increase to the employee base.

For HR, this means determining who stays and who goes. An average of 30% of workers are deemed redundant post-merger; while this might seem a threat, it can also provide employees with new opportunities for growth.

Effective change management as well as employee engagement and integration are key during this time.

Streamlining Recruitment

During a merger, recruitment efforts are multifaceted. HR must focus on managing change effectively while also harmonizing hiring systems and processes across multiple brands. For instance, following a merger, one of iCIMS healthcare clients needed to scale recruiting to support its expansion while unifying recruiting technologies of its new network of more than 100 care centers.

The talent acquisition complexities that come along with that type of transition are immense. Streamlining recruitment and integrating effectively can greatly improve success and ensure the full impact of the deal is realized.

HR and their talent acquisition counterparts must take a deep dive into the organization’s recruitment tools and processes, reviewing the strengths and weaknesses. After an examination, opportunities can be explored to operate more efficiently – whether that means a system reimplementation to standardize tools and processes or bringing in new technology that can better address the needs of the combined brands.

The Hiring Experience

With changing business needs on the horizon, hiring during mergers and acquisitions is inevitable albeit complicated. The employee and candidate experience greatly impacts both brand and business results.

Almost all job seekers (95%) agree that the way a potential employer treats them as a candidate is a reflection of how they would treat them as an employee, according to a survey by iCIMS. Suffice to say, attracting the best talent during this critical time requires strategic recruiting efforts alongside a great hiring experience. A few things to consider:

Employer Brand. Recruiting is an extension of your corporate brand. After M&A, it’s essential that companies put their best foot forward and showcase the changing business to potential new talent. Not only will this help ensure candidates have a clear view about the organization, but a strong talent brand can also help reduce turnover and your cost-per-hire – especially important during this stage.

Communication. A transparent approach to both internal and external communications will help ensure a consistent experience across the board. Employees should be aware of what is happening with the organization so that the same, accurate information is shared with potential new hires. With so many things in flux, it is also important that candidates are regularly communicated with throughout the hiring process.

Mergers and acquisitions bring an influx of change to an organization. Navigating HR and recruiting during these times can be an incredibly exciting opportunity. To be successful, ensure strong employee engagement and recruiting plans are in place.