When it comes to announcing a change, how you communicate it is far more important than what is being communicated. Communication sets the tone for how the change will be received and interpreted moving forward. That said, a key part of your acquisition rollout strategy must be identifying the key information and stakeholder groups so you can then develop your communications plan.
Here are three tips to help you get started on determining what that “key information” is.
Shape your introduction.
Following an acquisition, it’s vital that a welcome message of some kind is delivered to the acquired business from the parent company. The employees of the acquired business will appreciate this gesture, and it will allow you to set an expectation for the type of relationship you will have moving forward. Consider whether or not your company is well known to the acquired employees. If you need to provide background information about your business and its history, now’s the time to do that. The goal here is to acknowledge that the acquisition happened and that you care about them. You can also let them know when additional communications can be expected.
Help employees understand what it means for them, right now.
Give the employees the information they are most interested in—how it impacts them. To do that, figure out what’s new, what’s changing and what’s staying the same in the immediate future, and determine the best way to communicate this information.
Answer these questions to help you organize the content that may need to be communicated.
- What’s new? Create a list of any exciting perks or positive changes that will impact the employees. This could include benefits or other enhancements your acquisition enables that will positively impact their day to day.
- What’s changing? Is there anything that they experience today that will be going away or changing? Highlight that information, so they can prepare themselves.
- What’s staying the same? Most people find comfort in knowing not everything is changing all at once. Communicate those things that will be familiar to employees so they have a sense of stability.
Share your vision for the future.
After learning how the acquisition will directly impact them right now, employees will want to know what the future holds. You may not know exactly what the business will look like post-acquisition as many businesses need to go through an assessment period to understand if and when future changes will be made. However, be as transparent as you can. Let your stakeholders know that future changes may come down the pike, and that you will provide them with regular updates.
Figuring out the key information to communicate during an acquisition is just one step to building your acquisition communications plan. To learn more, we recommend downloading our free Ultimate Guide to Acquisition Communications.
There are also many effective and creative ways to keep teams up-to-date throughout ongoing changes, and we’d love to discuss them with you. Contact us anytime!