AM: Comment on how you view personnel turnover and consolidation after the integration.
Sanders: Well, we view acquisitions as an opportunity to gain well trained personnel that have proven they can do the job, so we typically look to integrate them into our organization. In the event there are job duplications, we have to look to the weakest person to cut; however, since we are a large company, we usually have other job openings available.
Most of the time employees of the newly acquired company see real benefits in the acquisition since they now have an expanded benefits package like health insurance and retirement. Additionally, they now have a greater career opportunity. I know this wouldn't be the case with all buyers, but we are a national company with over 500 employees, so we typically don't see a lot of turnover after an acquisition.
AM: How can a seller make their employees feel comfortable about the acquisition?
Sanders: I think this is where the seller has to point out the benefits of growth and expansion that are expected after the sale. Typically, the buyer wants to see growth, and I always think growth will generate job opportunities and advancement. If the buyer is a larger company or one with multiple locations, the seller can point out advancements by moving from a small company to a larger one that is obviously focused on expansion.
Typically, the employees will see these benefits and will appreciate the opportunity that is ahead. It is normal for all employees to have a high level of uncertainty in the beginning, but the seller can lessen this by having joint orientation meetings with the buyer. Mergers and acquisitions are so commonplace that most employees have at least given some thought about the possibility of their company being sold. It's the uncertainty that causes problems and clear, open and honest communication can help to alleviate this.