M&As: how do you maintain engagement?

posted by Scott McKenzie

Yesterday morning I was fortunate enough to be able to get along to the CIPD’s event entitled “Maintaining engagement through business transformation”.

Helen Rosethorn, CEO of Bernard Hodes Group took us through some research the CIPD had sponsored around how employees had been engaged at 6 organisations going through change (primarily mergers and acquisitions).

You can access the detailed research here.

The key findings were fascinating. In summary they were:

  • Employees felt that they had lost some element of choice (i.e. would they have chose to work for the organisation they were now working for?)
  • People get more sensitive about hygiene factors
  • The perceptions people have about brands set the expectations – especially when there is a communications vaccuum
  • Cultural issues are not managed properly
  • Planning is focussed on operational integration
  • The process of change can actually be a lever for engagement in itself
  • Communications is undervalued by those leading change

All of these findings are relevant to internal communications practitioners. And many of the findings may not be all that surprising. Especially to those of us who have handled the comms elements of significant change programmes.

I have blogged repeatedly about the importance of communicators demonstrating the value we bring to the party. So the last finding (around comms being undervalued by leaders) is particularly galling.

It’s an issue we must continue to raise with our senior stakeholders. Clear, meaningful and engaging communications should not be seen as optional. Not when it can have such a significant impact on people and – as a result – the bottom line.

P.S. – As I mentioned in my blog last week we have a great event lined up on the 10th March. We have 3 great panellists now confirmed (more detail next week). So if you want to have a full and frank discussion with these experts as well as peers from organisations like BT, RBS, Shell, HMRC, Pfizer, HSBC and Doosan Babcock (to name a few of the companies who will be represneted) – them make sure you sign up by emailing jessica.beckford@hillandknowlton.com.

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