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How to Stay Afloat during a Company Merger or Acquisition

Tags:  Job stress, Mergers & Acquisitions

A merger or acquisition can happen at any time and if an employee is in the lower ranks of the organization, sometimes without warning.


However, for employees who are aware that the organization they work for is in the process of merging with another company or could shortly be acquired, there are eight steps that they can take to give themselves a better chance at surviving the process.


Don't assume. Just because you think you do or don't have a job, be prepared for either outcome. Employees should find out as much as they can about what the change will mean and how they might fit in. Quite frankly, revenue-producing departments – sales -- are more likely to be retained than cost centers – accounting -- which are typically merged into one.


Protect yourself. Don't believe for one moment a boss or anyone else will save you. They're just as worried about what is going to happen to them. Take steps to be invaluable. This means…


Keep learning. It is important to continue learning about the other company, their culture, and how to do a better job. Employees should improve their ""resale"" value by keeping abreast of what's going on in the company and the world at large.


Be visible. Now is not the time to hide in a cubicle or withdraw into an office. Employees need to show the contribution they make and prove their worth by promoting themselves to incoming managers.


Become part of the change. If there is an opportunity to be involved in the merger or acquisition, embrace it. Learn who the new people are and where there are commonalities or differences. Start building relationships now.


Be flexible. Sometimes mergers bring opportunities to move into new business segments or divisions. A brand new position may open up. Keep in mind this may mean the need to relocate, but by being flexible an employee gives himself a better shot at being retained under the new structure.


Stay positive. Who wants to work with a grump? Not current colleagues and surely not the newly merged or acquired team. Employees need to stay motivated and committed to doing a good job, so the new management won't have any more fuel to get rid of them. Ambiguity and uncertainty are likely, so learn to go with the flow.


Look ahead. If all else fails, plan a move outside the company. Even employees who are given an opportunity to stay might not like the position, department or salary they are offered. Employees should be sure to update their resume and begin putting out feelers as soon as they are aware that they may be losing their job.


A merger or acquisition does not have to be the end of the world. Many times great opportunities come from this kind of change. It's just a matter of a little preparation to keep you afloat during a company merger or acquisition.

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