Few Companies Address Cultural Issues in M&A Integration

Only a small proportion of companies take cultural issues into consideration as part of their integration plans for mergers and acquisitions (M&As), a Mercer survey has found.

According to feedback from Mercer’s M&A Ready workshops attended by senior Human Resource leaders globally, just 25% of respondents said their company had any type of process in place for dealing with cultural issues to ensure better business integration results.    

Despite this, Mercer found most companies appear to have strong awareness of culture and talent issues in M&A situations. When asked about the risk of top talent leaving their organization following an M&A transaction, virtually all attendees said they were concerned about it, and nearly half (46%) said they were “very concerned.” “People issues” in M&A situations also appear to be growing in importance in the minds of attendees: nearly two-thirds (64%) said that people issues are more prominent today than they were one or more years ago.  

Mercer advises companies to focus on four critical steps for early integration success: 

  • Discover and define direction – Engage senior leaders early in the deal to define and agree on the culture necessary to deliver deal success
  • Dig deeper – Understand each other’s “way of working” – similarities, differences, risks and potential success derailers
  • Determine drivers and deploy – Identify a series of drivers to reinforce the behaviors necessary for success
  • Determine traction – Track and reward progress; monitor success of culture alignment over time

A total of 81 attendees completed the survey across six seminar locations: New York, Toronto, Delhi, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Paris. For more information on the importance of culture in mergers and acquisitions, visit http://www.mercer.com/mergers-acquisitions.