A communications strategy is an essential piece of your acquisition rollout plan. It includes the information and materials you need to distribute and identifies who needs to hear from you—your stakeholders. A well-thought-out communications strategy during periods of change is essential for gaining trust and buy-in from all impacted parties. Let’s take a look at which stakeholder groups you should consider prior to executing acquisition communications.
Who Will Be Leading the Charge?
First and foremost, it’s crucial to get leaders from your company and the acquired company on board with the plan. Share your vision and what changes you plan to make immediately and provide them with supporting materials they can use to effectively lead others through the change. Determine who will benefit from being armed with FAQs and talking points to help answer employee questions. How involved will your C-level execs, VPs and people managers be in rolling out the change or disseminating information? The makeup of your stakeholder groups depends on the nature of your acquisition, so try to pinpoint who will help lead you into the next phase of change—these are your leader stakeholders.
Who Will Be Externally Impacted?
While your internal teams should be a top priority, it’s also important to consider stakeholders outside of your organization. Does your company need to keep investors updated on the progress of your acquisition? Would your company benefit from speaking to the public about the future of your company through the media? Will it be important to ensure your customers understand what is happening so that they don’t lose trust in your company? Create a list of the stakeholders outside your company that should be kept in the loop—these are your external stakeholders.
Who Will Be Internally Impacted?
Depending on the scale of your acquisition and its level of impact on your company’s daily functions, the employees of the newly acquired company may be a group tremendously affected by this change. Will their day-to-day tasks be changing? What will be the scope of impact on processes? Will there be lay-offs, office closures or relocations? It’s essential that you identify the employees that will be affected to maintain their trust and keep them informed and confident in their roles. Remember that there may be leaders that fall into this group as well as individual contributors. If you are concerned that retention of a certain group could be an issue, flag that population so you can tailor your communications strategy for that group of stakeholders accordingly.
Identifying your key stakeholders is just one piece of the puzzle as you build your acquisition communications strategy. However, it’s an important step that will make identifying key messages and deliverables easier. We’d love to help you—drop us a line and we’ll get started!