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Wiley & Mathews

Reassuring your employees during a buyout

For a small company, a buy-out can mean great things. It generally means that you've successfully made some inroads into the market or field.

But buyouts are also scary for employees. During the merger and acquisition process, you don't want to lose your best people or have them jump ship out of anxiety over the changes. Plus, all the stress associated with career anxiety can definitely cause productivity to drop.

How do you help a buyout go more smoothly and reassure your employees about the future? Here are some suggestions:

Communicate clearly and often

Almost every human interaction can be improved through good communication. You need to step back and think about what you would want to hear or know if you were in your employee's shoes -- and then deliver. Maybe that means giving them a timeline of what they can expect and updating it regularly with changes. Maybe it means explaining -- in plain English -- the "why" behind whatever the company is doing. Even just admitting that some things are uncertain right now can make employees feel less like they're being kept in the dark about the future.

Accept that there will be some grief involved

It's normal for employees to be dismayed about changes in their company culture, office routines and their brand identity. Mergers and acquisitions can be particularly hard on long-time employees. Don't respond to grousing with frustration. Instead, recognize it as a symptom of grief and acknowledge the loss. Give those employees time to get over their sense of grief before you ask them to start getting excited about the future.

Work on building a unified culture

The last thing you want to develop is an entrenched sense among your employees that it's "us versus them" when it comes to new members of the team or new bosses coming in from the other company. You need to foster a sense of unity by encouraging both sides to treat each other as equals and act as part of a team.

Business mergers and acquisitions can be scary for everyone -- including the people in charge. Find out how an experienced attorney can help.

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