Industry Best Practice



The best practices for effectively integrating a small, outside team to an outside but already existing organization in the short-term and long-term have been provided in the following brief. Also, the pain points associated with integrating new employees into an existing company after an acquisition have been provided below.

Best Practices in the Short-Term

1. Increase Employee Engagement

  • It is important for managers to understand the needs of new employees, their concerns, questions, and feedback so that they receive the required support. Employee feedback helps managers understand the cultural differences and similarities between the two companies. Therefore, leaders will be in a position to develop effective integration plans that avoid issues that may cause cultural tension.
  • In addition, employee feedback helps organizations address issues that may arise during the integration. According to a study by Gallup, employees highly value connections with company leaders and their colleagues when they experience organizational restructuring.
  • One way of receiving feedback is through pulse surveys, which pave way for high-quality, better-informed conversations between employees and leaders.
  • Employees’ questions regarding their job status, salary, and reporting structure should be clearly answered. Giving employees the information they want relieves anxiety and helps them to relax, which has a positive effect on productivity.
  • Employees become more engaged with a company when they are involved in decisions, understand their career path, receive corporate encourage, and can have a two-way dialogue with organizational leaders.
  • For employees to be engaged it is important for the organization to make a compelling case for change and managers and executives should role model it in all their communications and in person. The message should be in line with the acquisition’s strategic rationale and be modular so that leaders can customize it to the needs of different stakeholders.
  • It is important to deliver these messages early because employees will understand the key points after a number of attempts. Also, people in the organization will be able to provide feedback and engage with one another.
  • Employees who work remotely need to have opportunities for two-way communication with the management. One way of achieving this is through mobile technology. Mobile technologies such as StaffConnect, a mobile app, offer engagement solutions that encourage open-ended communication and engagement-related measurement.
  • Employee mobile apps ensure that staff members who work remotely do not need to depend on message boards or emails to understand what is taking place during the integration. Mobile apps can also be used to generate reports and insights and facilitate feedback related to engagement. Focus groups, community-building events, social media campaigns, and surveys can assist leaders to engage with the employees.
  • The right engagement platform can give employees a voice, improve coworker alignment, offer tools to support productivity, and ease cultural integration.

2. Create Open-Ended Education Sessions

  • Education forums and workshops should be created by organizations to ensure that the new employees and the ones in the parent company are on the same page. It is important not to make the workshop or forum mandatory so that employees self-evaluate and decide if they are willing to be part of the organization.
  • Moreover, employees need to trust the person offering the education session. Therefore, organizations must equally use leadership from each legacy company. Consequently, the attendees will be comfortable and confident in what they are learning.
  • The learning sessions should be personal and short. In addition, employees should be given a chance to interact on a personal level so that they create connections and have a deeper understanding of where they fit in the organization.

Best Practices in the Long-Term

1. Hardwiring the Changes

  • Companies should hardwire new governance, structures, policies, and processes into the combined organizations, concentrating on levers, such as cross-functional business processes, decision rights, and performance-management systems.
  • To ensure that employees are comfortable with these changes, organizations support large-scale capability-building efforts from training of new systems to leadership development.
  • Organizations can create a robust change-management plan that focuses on employing reinforcement mechanisms, building conviction and understanding, developing capabilities, and making sure that company leaders role model the changes.

2. Monitoring the Change Management Program

  • It is important for a company to monitor how the change management program is being executed and the top team’s alignment. For instance, a pulse survey can be used to understand the emotions and perceptions of employees.
  • On the other hand, a tracking dashboard analyzed by the integration management office can highlight important organizational-health indicators, such as inbound job applications, recruiting referrals, absenteeism, and employee attrition. Linkages between the key change themes and core metrics ensure that the integration effort embodies the acquisition’s business objectives.

Pain Points

1. Poor Communication

  • According to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, communication challenges were among the top reasons why mergers and acquisitions failed.
  • Lack of communication between managers and employees and colleagues that are newly working together can create uncertainty, which could result in distrust and lower employee engagement levels.
  • To solve this issue, managers should ensure that everyone understands why the acquisition is happening, provide some context, and future hopes and aspirations.
  • In addition, leaders can create a timeline of the acquisition, which includes assigned roles, milestone dates, and deadlines. Also, a Frequently Asked Questions document can be created to address concerns from employees.
  • To maintain communication, managers should schedule regular meetings, “set company-wide town hall meetings,” and send email updates regularly whenever there is a change.

2. Low Employee Retention Rate

  • During acquisitions, employees become concerned about being laid off, being asked to re-apply for their position, and organizational culture changes. The loss of employees due to their fears directly affects business and demoralizes the remaining workforce.
  • To maintain employee trust, engagement should be fostered. According to Gallup, “businesses with highly engaged teams have 59% less turnover.”
  • Furthermore, ensuring that employees are aligned to a company’s core values and culture improves the retention rate. In addition, open communication creates a positive work environment.

3. Manager Apprehension

  • Acquisitions can result in power shifts in certain positions. Managers that were once in charge of a small team may find themselves with many new bosses. The adjustment could be difficult, and the frustrations managers may experience could trickle down to their teams.
  • Additionally, there could be personnel departures that could affect other employees. For instance, the resignation of a favorite manager could influence other lower-level employees to resign as well.
  • To address this issue, organizational leaders should take time and learn about each manager. They should study how they communicate, solve problems, and think. The information should then be used to remove any uncertainty or doubts they have about the organization.

Research Strategy

While we found most of the information, we did not find any case study of mid-sized marketing agencies that have successfully integrated outside companies. We looked through industry sites, such as VentureBeat, PR Newswire, and Marketing Dive but they only provided information about mergers and acquisitions in the marketing sector and information on large marketing firms. We then attempted to look for individual mid-sized marketing firms that had acquired other agencies with the intention of creating case studies from scratch but we did not find any relevant results. The information we found focused on mid-sized firms in general with nothing specific as to how they worked to integrate new team members in the short-term and long-term. For this reason, we concluded that the information is not available in the public domain.

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.


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