HR Merger and Acquisition Playbook What happens during a merger or acquisition? A team—usually comprised of the CEO, CFO and maybe the CMO—researches next steps to understand important things like how much the merger or acquisition will cost the company, what new markets will arise from the transaction and how it will increase revenue, profits and shareholder values. Savvy organizations know that the sooner they involve HR in the integration process, the greater their chances of success. HR professionals can help organizations understand the strengths of their workforces and determine who the key players are. It is also critical to understand the organizational culture of each company and to determine if the cultures can successfully be merged. Not only can HR help with identifying talent within the prospective organization, they bring knowledge and experience surrounding labor laws... Not only can HR help with identifying talent within the prospective organization, they bring knowledge and experience surrounding labor laws which may be critical to the deal. HR also brings experience in change management, which, if the merger goes through, will make or break the new organization. Change management is especially important for keeping momentum within organizations after a serious change like a merger or acquisition.Potential threats from change might include a decline in performance or the loss of talent. “Organizations need to think about the diligence around their talent decisions with the same rigor they use for their products, their operations, and their customer decisions,” says Patrick Shannon, a San Francisco-based partner in Mercer’s talent practice. HR should be involved in the planning phase, as well as during the due diligence process. HR takes the lead during the integration phase—especially while identifying the culture differences and determining which employees to retain, should layoffs be made. Once the decisions are made around who to retain, HR is integral to planning layoffs and putting retention strategies in place for key staffers. During integration, HR can coach other leaders through setting goals, determining milestones and setting up rewards and recognition programs. During any merger or acquisition, HR can help the process run smoother by ensuring that change is communicated effectively, company cultures are introduced properly, talent remains productive and the best of both organizations is preserved. HR managers must have a firm understanding of many business practices including finance, marketing, and operations. In order for HR managers to be a valued member of the merger team, they must be able to actively participate in discussions about whether the deal makes sense for their organization. Columbia Southern University’s online business and human resource management degree programs prepare students for working in the highly impactful world of mergers and acquisitions. This combination of learning opportunities provides CSU students with all the resources they need to be active participants in the merger and acquisition process. Having this skill will make the CSU HR Management graduate a valued asset wherever they work!