Integration Success : Declared vs. Acknowledged

The recent acquisition that I have been part of was 'declared' successful by the Integration Task Force setup to smoothen post merger blues.

The initial motives behind the acquisition and the learning and growing that happens within the acquiring management team through the process of integration plays the key role in the decisions taken during integration.

This article mentions four central themes viz. control versus cooperation; how to handle the culture of the acquired firm; trust versus distrust; and speed versus carefulness, which play out towards the final outcome. Plus, "the most important factor when it comes to post-acquisition management seems to be the ability of managing people rather than systems and structures" says a related paper, and I concur.

I know of companies that take special efforts at keeping morale of the employees in the acquired organization high. For instance, to make them feel comfortable, their emotional links to their previous organization are retained by actions like honouring their joining-date and treating them as equally old employees of the new organization. As far as I know, this international best practice is deemed so important that it is done even if it does not go very well with the employees of the acquiring organization.

Another thing that I have experienced being done is about not only retaining but also expanding the cultural activities of the acquired organization to include the new larger organization.

Little things, done right, show the sensitive side of the new management and give re-assurance to the new set of employees which, IMO, is the defining factor for successful integration.

Integration is successful only if it is acknowledged as such by the employees who are the ultimate customers of any Human Resource exercise.