What to Do About Your Brand After a Merger

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Jun 7, 2016

Mergers and acquisitions are heating up in nearly every industry. In January alone, global activity in the pharma industry totaled $56 billion, more than double the total at the same time a few years ago, the Financial Times (requires subscription) reported. And that’s just a look into one industry.

Amid the many changes organizations undergo, HR is left with a huge challenge — talent management. Employees are coming and going, departments are shifting, new roles are created, and so on. It’s a lot to handle internally. How does an organization keep everything running smoothly with so much change occurring? My employer, MedReps, created a whitepaper to answer that question.

But there’s a lot to handle externally, as well. After M&A activity, your employer brand is affected. The future of the company may look unstable, professionals aren’t sure what the changes mean for the organization and the employees, and layoffs reflect poorly on the organization as a whole.

So how do you get your employer brand back on track? How do you show job seekers what you’re all about? Here’s a few ways:

Update information

After M&A activity, things will change. The company may have a new name that reflects the merged parts, new divisions, or a changed mission, vision, and values. As it is, 61% of North American employees surveyed by Achievers in 2015 said they don’t know their company’s mission. Job seekers need a clear idea of the company culture, what the brand represents, and the type of work they can expect to do.

Job seekers want to know what working for the company will be like, and they’re heading to your website to find out. Among U.S. job seekers surveyed by CareerBuilder in 2015, 42% said they visit career pages to find jobs and apply. And the biggest influence on their decision to apply was available information.

If your website isn’t up-to-date with accurate information after M&A, how will job seekers know what the company mission is, and if they want to work there?

And after M&A activity, the mission, vision, values, and culture may all change. Update the career website, social media pages, job posts, and other employer branding tools to communicate these changes to job seekers. You want them to have an accurate idea of what the company stands for and what it’s like to work there. In addition, you want job seekers to know that the employer is on top of changes and handling transitions with ease.

Re-brand your culture

The company website and job postings can easily be changed to reflect changes in the company mission and vision after M&A activity — but changes in company culture are more difficult to communicate.

After all, a 2015 LinkedIn survey of more than 10,000 professionals who recently changed jobs found that 49% of respondents said the biggest obstacle in the job search is not knowing what working for an organization is actually like. And after M&A, the picture of the organization can be even fuzzier.

Clear up what your culture looks like with social media. Post pictures of company events on Facebook, celebrate team achievements on Twitter, and upload videos like office tours on YouTube. If there are any changes, point them out. Showcase what makes the culture unique, and what job seekers should expect from the working environment.

Let employees speak for themselves

M&A activity gets a bad reputation when it comes to talent management. From the outside, job seekers may think that employees are disgruntled and worried that their jobs are at stake. Especially in the wake of layoffs and employees leaving the company in search of new jobs.

In fact, a study of job seekers and HR professionals conducted by CareerArc in June 2015 found that 38% of terminated or laid off employees share negative reviews of the employer online. Not only that, but 54% of those surveyed who have been fired at least once in their career said the layoff or termination negatively influenced their perception of the employer. These negative reviews and perceptions can influence job seekers, causing them to rethink working for organizations after major M&A activity.

Combat these negative views with brand ambassadors. Select a few current employees to share their opinions of the workplace, promote open positions on social media, and share testimonials on social media and on the company website.

Let your employees speak for themselves — there’s no better way to calm uneasiness job seekers may be feeling after M&A.

Answer questions

Even after updating information, sharing photos, and using brand ambassadors, job seekers will still have questions about the changing company and the work environment.

Answer these questions head-on. Reply to comments on Facebook, respond to tweets, or hold a Twitter chat to field and answer multiple questions at once. Put together a FAQ sheet based on these conversations and post it to your career site, and share it on social platforms.

After M&A activity, a lot of things are changing, and you want to present a clear and consistent message to job

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