When a company is acquired, the purchaser sets up and runs the integration. They create the Integration Management Office (IMO), identify the objectives, the workstreams, the projects within each workstream, and run those projects.
The acquired staff often assume that their new parent company has a well-defined set of integration processes. This isn’t always the case. The people in the acquired business have a lot to offer an integration, and it is in everybody’s interests that they are involved.
The people who know the most about the acquired business are those who were in that business before the deal. They have a lot of knowledge and insight that can specifically help with the integration.
Here are four reasons to include the acquired staff in the integration projects:
- People in an acquired business are often preoccupied with career concerns because of a lack of information, which affects productivity. When the acquired are involved in the integration, their access to information helps keep them and their teams engaged at work
- Acquirers have to make a lot of assumptions around project scope and scheduling. The acquired staff, particularly the acquired management, can provide accurate, relevant information, to help with planning
- Integrations are fraught with unknowns (expect the unexpected). The acquired staff understand how their business works and have the business relationships already in place. They can remove obstacles and solve problems more easily
- Integrating two business cultures is a long journey, especially if it is started on the wrong footing. Including the acquired staff in the integration team will foster mutual understanding, facilitating the cultural integration
Politically, it is important that some level of the acquired management is involved in the integration, whether they come from leadership or middle management. The acquired business needs to have a raised profile, so that their integration remains in the forefront of everyone’s minds. Without this visibility, the people within the acquired business can struggle for recognition, which will negatively affect achieving the reasons for acquiring.
How to prepare for an integration when you sell your business
Before leadership sells a business, they should ask a few key questions to ensure that they are included in the integration and to let the acquirer know that the integration is important to them.
- How many people from my management team will be involved in the integration?
- Who are the key staff you need to work with?
- We expect leadership to be at our office for the announcement, but can we schedule their second and third visits now, before their calendar is filled?
Getting clear answers to these specific questions will be an indication of well prepared your acquirers are for the integration, and how involved your team will be. The more involved the acquired business is in their integration, the greater the odds of success.