Four large US telephone providers merged to create a national wireless service. With a combined workforce of more than 30,000, the new company needed a communication platform to integrate its four business units. To quell the rumor mill and sustain productivity, it was important to keep employees abreast of breaking news about integration plans, customer and staffing issues, partner companies, public news releases, and changes to organization design and HR programs.
This problem can be solved by building trust and acceptance, and keeps employees focused on the important work at hand. It can mitigate damage caused by the rumor mill and relieve anxiety.
In the past, corporate communications dealt mainly with creating carefully worded and packaged messages that were sent out to employees. Now, leading companies are emphasizing dialogue, face-to-face meetings, and listening, in addition to more traditional methods. (Fulmer, William E. 2000.)
Generally, it pays to begin by offering at least the employees of the acquired company, who are more likely to feel anxious about the imminent change, a chance to air their concerns. These initial meetings also give them the chance to become acquainted with the organization that is going to have such a determining effect on their future.
A successful merger is a competition against time. No athlete starts to prepare for a competition at the starting signal. The detailed search for synergies and cash-flow analysis, and the development of a financial plan, an implementation plan and a communication plan must be ready before the merger. However, the time and resources required are often underestimated. This is where external resources can add value.
Of course, in an ideal world, this type of communication would eliminate all uncertainty for employees. But there will inevitably be times when people do need to be left in the dark, for the simple reason that it is not yet clear what needs to be done or who will do what. In such cases, it is better for people to be told honestly that things are up in the air. When people are told nothing, as opposed to when they are told frankly that a decision has not yet been made, the rumors really start flying. (Cushman, Donald P. and Sarah Sanderson King, 1995.)
Part of living in a protean organization is living with uncertainty about the future. People who are relatively comfortable with ambiguity will not only weather a merger situation more easily, but they will be more valuable to many organizations experiencing rapid change. (Marks, Mitchell Lee., 2003.)
Anyone who has been an eyewitness to a merger will attest to the intensity of emotion and human drama involved. There is no other corporate phenomenon that stirs up so many passions a testament to...