LIFE AFTER THE SALE: FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE THE MOST IMPORTANT ASSET, THE PEOPLE, TAKES YEARS TO CORRECT
Post acquisition decline in workplace morale is fueled by potential layoffs, new bosses, and in general, an agonizing fear of the unknown. Left adrift, employee morale rapidly descends to a low level.
The proud new owners walk in one day to find that everyone is miserable. The company can do no right, the bosses are all idiots, and highly valued team members are suddenly looking for new jobs
This is especially evident in the aftermath of an acquisition or takeover. When owners and senior level executives, preoccupied with meeting return on investment projections, keep their noses stuck in financial statements, the de-facto opinion leaders of the rank and file (who are not only the most pessimistic, but also the most vocal) take over.
Rote, “feel good” announcements are delivered halfheartedly by low level managers and supervisors. Efforts at cultural blending amount to little more than lip service. Detractors have a field day shooting holes in management’s meager attempts to deliver positive messages and prop up morale.
Only when the poor morale shows through in the financials, do owners and senior executives get involved. Too little, too late, the adverse cultural twist is now embedded and can take decades to reverse.
The root cause of this scenario is failure to recognize the most important asset acquired. Because measuring and controlling financial performance is relatively easy when compared to measuring and controlling employee morale, this is an easy trap to fall into.
Early implementation of a carefully crafted plan for assimilating groups of different people into one homogeneous unit can make the difference between a successful acquisition and a dismal failure.
Tom Britten is president of Britten Managment Services, based in Lutz, Fla. He is a longtime vending industry veteran. He can be reached at 813-792-9719; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.