TORONTO: Corporate communications are a key factor in the success
rate of mergers and acquisitions, say the unsurprising results of a
study conducted last month by de Jager & Co.
The study surveyed 280 managers whose company had undergone a merger or
acquisition in the past two years. Respondents said a consistent change
management strategy involving concise and frequent communications
between management and staff can improve a company's chances of forming
a single corporate culture - a key to any successful merger.
According to the study, when managers personally inform their staff of a
pending merger or acquisition, the company is two to three times more
likely to experience a successful transition than companies at which
employees learn about the change through the media or rumors.
Peter de Jager, president of de Jager & Co., said companies and their
communications consultants should be on the lookout for simple mistakes
that can keep employees from embracing a merger or acquisition.
"For example, Air Canada has acquired Canadian Air, yet at our airport
here in Toronto, there is a separate lounge for each airline's pilots
with a wall between them," said de Jager. "In a merger, you need to
bring people together, not leave literal walls between them. It's a
simple example, but it speaks a great deal about the types of activities
and mistakes that are going on."
De Jager recommends holding staff meetings or information sessions at
each junction of a merger or acquisition, beginning before the deal is
in the news and culminating in joint meetings with merged staffs once it
"Change boils down to one thing: good communications," de Jager said.