A Merger Is the Time For Workers to Double-Down

Mergers are a fact of working life. They can be very good news for organizations as they offer opportunities for increased efficiency and scale. When managed well, they can bring about efficiency in the workplace and economy.

Yet mergers cause a lot of stress for employees. There can be a lot of fear associated with mergers, particularly related to job security, but also to uncertainty in general. People are generally uncomfortable with change, and may be frightened about what it could bring. This is natural, as mergers and acquisitions do often lead to merging common functions like HR, marketing or sales. However, reacting appropriately to mergers can be very beneficial for employees, and here is why.

At times of mergers and acquisitions, organizations will want to keep the best and the brightest on board. They will look for competencies that can help them move the organization forward and make the most of the merger or acquisition.

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Most M&As fail. Poor communications and cultural integration are often the cause. Read “How You Handle the Cultures Will Make Or Break A Merger.”

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Employees do not always help themselves very much during these times, as instead of showing how capable they are, their performance and productivity tends to slump. This is due to resistance to change and fear of what the future might hold for them. This does not present the image of a capable employee that will help move the organization forward. While this behavior might be natural for many people due to the uncertainty faced, it makes their fears more likely to become reality. This is because reduced performance will lead to them being tagged as a person to lose in any efficiency exercise.

Employees need to take a positive outlook towards merger and acquisition change if they want to showcase their competencies. Instead of demonstrating lower productivity and performance, they must significantly increase it, to perhaps double or triple their efforts. Standing out for excellence and ability is the way to get noticed and earmarked as an employee who is worth holding onto. Change does involve risk, but it can also offer exciting new opportunities for capable people.

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Ultimately, it will be those employees who consistently demonstrate that they are top performers that will be more assured of opportunities in the newly merged firm in the future. Individuals who show a positive attitude during such times are good to have around, are more productive and demonstrate resilience that is needed to deal with regular organizational change. A can-do attitude will be what managers want to see. These types of employees are also more likely to be a driving force of the culture of the newly merged entity. It is those individuals that show courage, high performance and a positive mindset that will succeed, and that will help the organization succeed too.

As uncomfortable as it may feel, the conclusion is that employees need to reconsider their approach during mergers and acquisitions and show what they really are capable of. Turn up to work with a smile and a positive attitude and work very hard to demonstrate your capabilities for the best chances of success during these difficult times.

Ali Khaled Alhashmi

Ali Khaled Alhashmi is a winner of several notable awards such as Human Resources Executive of the Year at the International Business Awards 2017, HR Leadership Award at the GCC Best Employer Brand Awards 2017, HR Professional of the Year at HR Excellence Award 2017 and 100 most influential Global HR Leaders at the World HRD Congress 2018.

Alhashmi is a seasoned human resources specialist with more than 20 years of leadership and professional development experience and has held Senior Vice President roles in Human Resources at Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank, both in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

He brings a rare ability to apply an entrepreneurial approach to organizational challenges, delivering transformational and sustainable change to large and small businesses alike. He is well known as a catalyst for transformational change, spearheading the use of innovative HR management techniques combined with digitalization to deliver lasting results, particularly with employee engagement. A public speaker and published author, written several ground-breaking leadership and management titles, including “Success Through Employees – Employee Engagement Strategies”, “TEEM – A Model for Growth in Business and Government”, “The Winning Edge”, and "Understanding the Workplace" series. Also published numerous white papers and management articles in the areas of expert authority including Human Resources, Strategic Planning, Leadership and Market Research.