Mergers and Acquisitions

Our experience (and statistics) has shown us that despite the attention mergers and acquisitions have received from financial and marketing strategists, the merger failure rate remains as high as ever. Frequently the synergistic relations that are sought through the merger of 1 + 1 > 2 are not achieved.

At HRNetwork, we have seen through our many years of experience in change management, that while this is only partly to do with the integration issues, the so-called “hard” issues relating to increased market share and the elimination or reduction of costs and duplications simply don’t materialise in the short to medium term. Much of the leadership’s efforts are hindered as people are not “aligned” in the mergers and acquisitions process. Now the concept of people “alignment” is questionable. People are not manipulative pieces of the puzzle on some chess board to be “aligned” in some mysterious, magical, manipulative manner. Equally so, it does not help Businesses and Organisational to call on Change Management experts after the fact and expect them to perform some miracle cure! People are unique individuals with limitless potential as a collective – they have free wills, creative minds, views and opinions, hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future. Their participation in the design and implementation of future possibilities that mergers and acquisitions must bring is CORE to success. This requires both individual and organisational insight, unpacking of conscious and subconscious wisdoms (individual and collective) and transformation.

It is with this in mind that HRNetwork partners with clients in the unfolding journey of “futuring” the individual and the collective through our recognised OD, Change Management and Transformation Storyboarding processes. We achieve transformation at both a “hard” and “soft” level, integrating human experience with the emerging future – a world of possibility – exactly that which the merger process seeks to achieve. Obviously we assist in the “hard issues” of placements, redesign of organisational structures, job / role profiling, grading, integration of rewards and benefits, contract management, skills gaps, management, efficiency of costing and process models, systems and infrastructure integration and a list of key issues that simultaneously MUST be addressed. Equally we focus on the leadership effort to achieve the “shift” required at all levels toward creating a shared, common future with an efficient, effective, focused continually evolving business system. We view our Client Business and organisation as a “systemically evolving, complex entity”.

At HRNetwork we do not offer a “tick box” approach to this very complex challenge. Rather, we humbly bring our experience (some wisdom learned), some of our tried and tested “tools” for making the journey a lived, participative one. The journey is led by you, The Leader, in evolving a shared, commonly created future and culture by understanding. Your understanding, conscious and unconscious, of what is changing, how it is changing and the real choices faced by both business and the individuals, is vital. We base our work in Change on the latest thinking and have embraced much of DR Otto Sharmer’s U Theory and research. This said, HRNetwork’ s approach certainly isn’t academic but rather pragmatic and based on what works!

Essentially we work with three phases of the mergers and acquisitions process:

  • Planning mergers and acquisitions
  • Combining of the Organisations / Businesses
  • Solidifying and capacitating the new…until it changes, and changes and changes!

Phase 1 – Planning the Mergers and Acquisitions

HR Issues HR Implications and Actions

  • Identifying the business rationale, vision and strategic objectives, goals and outcomes of the merger and acquisition
  • Forming mergers & acquisitions team/leader
  • Planning for managing the process of the merger and / or acquisition
  • Planning to learn from the “emerging” process
  • Knowledge, understanding and wisdoms need to be shared
  • Establish leadership and agree leadership roles
  • Compose the team (client and HRNetwork)
  • Conducting thorough due diligence of all areas is vital
  • Conduct Change Readiness diagnostic and high level cultural assessment of the two organisations / businesses
  • Creating mechanisms to document practices of learning and knowledge transfer

Phase 2 – Combining the Organisations / Businesses

HR Issues HR Implications and Actions

  • Participative envisioning processes for emerging futures
  • Understanding transformation of Self and organisation ito “futuring”
  • Designing/implementing teams
  • Creating the new structure/strategies/leadership
  • Planned retention of key employees
  • Motivating employees
  • Managing the change process
  • Developing Communications strategy and plan. Implementing it and ensuring correct mechanisms are in place as well as correct monitoring of feedback loops – involving stakeholders
  • Deciding on the HR policies and practices – aligning two organisations policies and practices e.g. rewards, grading etc.
  • Selecting the appropriate candidates – this includes placement processes, committees, and ensuring compliance with section 197 of the Labour Relations Act.
  • Creating team design and selection are critical for transition and combination success
  • Establishing a new culture – Transformational Storyboarding


Phase 3 – Solidifying and capacitating the new…until it changes, and changes and changes!

HR Issues HR Implications and Actions

  • Build resilience to change through personal and organisational transformation
  • solidify leadership and staffing
  • Assessing the new strategies and structures
  • Assessing the new culture
  • Assessing the concerns of stakeholders
  • Revising as needed
  • Learning from the process
  • Leadership and staffing of the new entry are essential
  • Creating and evaluating a new structure
  • Melding two cultures needs assessment revision
  • The concerns of all stakeholders need to be addressed and satisfied
  • The new entity must learn
  • Assessing the cultural match between the two firms.


In summary HRNetwork provides (amongst others) input into:

  • Designing the M&A Process
  • Developing a common vision based on personal and organisational transformation stooped in presencing and an “emerging future” thinking bases on proven Theory U (Otto Sharmer) and global research
  • Developing the business strategy
  • Managing the process of change providing the change management skills to align the right people with the appropriate knowledge and skills base to meet the shared vision an goals of the organisation / business
  • Advising top management on the merged company’s new organizational structure via a thorough h process of organisational Design
  • Creating transition teams, especially those that will:
    • develop infrastructure for new organization;
    • process and design systems;
    • address cultural issues;
    • Provide training
    • Managing the activities associated with staffing and placements – in particular, developing

and overseeing:

  • Selection processes
  • Retention strategies
  • Separation strategies.
  • Overseeing the communications. Develop a communication strategy and plan aimed at

realising a vision of the new organisation through:

  • Assessing issues re: audience, timing, method and message.
  • Information delivery.
  • Information gathering.
  • Helping employees and communities cope with change
  • Managing the learning processes, e.g.,
    • Building learning into the partnership agreement.
    • Staffing to learn.
    • Setting up learning-driven career plans.
    • Designing Reward strategies and alignment

Please also refer to our OD section on this site. View our proven “Navigating the waves of change” Methodology (with an extensive toolkit). Finally take advantage of our unique, leading edge Transformational Storyboarding process which taps collective and individual wisdoms to effect transformation of individuals, teams and the organisation during the M&A process.

Contact us for a free initial consultation and understanding of your unique challenge in creating and maximising your organizations’ future performance. Please note, we approach M&A’s not only from the “human” perspective but equally from a realistic,  insightful business frame of reference.