2015 is already proving to be a blockbuster year for corporate mergers and acquisitions. According to Thomson Reuters data, the first quarter saw more than $843 billion in global M&A activity, 72% higher than in Q1 2013. Domestic M&A had its most successful quarter since 2000, with more than $414.7 billion worth of deals announced. But as plenty of executives know, closing the deal is only half the battle—then the real challenges begin.
One of the most frequently cited struggles of combining organizations is how to carefully protect (and blend) corporate cultures. Unfortunately, culture often becomes an afterthought during the lengthy, cumbersome M&A process. 2011 research by McKinsey & Company found that almost one-third of organizations put off integration planning until after M&A negotiations kick off.
There’s no shortcut for establishing a united atmosphere among employees who, in many cases, are miles or countries away. But with technology—the modern common denominator—the process can be much less painful. Here are a few ways conferencing and collaboration tools help newly combined businesses get their cultures in sync.
Video conferencing can reduce travel expenses
Business leaders often devote weeks to in-person meetings pre-, during and post-integration. It’s impractical for all employees on both sides of the deal to travel for meet-and-greets, planning discussions or status updates.
Having the right video conferencing system cuts down on travel time and expense, while giving all staff members the opportunity to connect more personally with new colleagues and put a face with a name.
Collaboration rooms can replace in-person team meetings
Virtual meeting and collaboration programs like Cisco WebEx Meeting Center or InterCall Unified Meeting 5 also foster more interaction and information sharing among physically distant employees. For smaller team meetings and project work, a virtual collaboration platform can sufficiently replace tangible whiteboard brainstorms and still ensure that work gets done.
These solutions consolidate important points or ideas discussed in the meeting so employees don’t have to waste time manipulating incompatible files and fragmented notes after the call. Collaboration rooms are also a more secure alternative to consumer-grade file sharing apps like Google Drive or Dropbox.
This is an invaluable benefit for recently combined businesses in particular, which can be even more sensitive to data leaks.
Virtual events can bring large groups together
You can’t really host a cross-office happy hour online, but webcasts and virtual environments are a smart way to bring together large groups of employees for important corporate gatherings. These tools make it easy to organize company-wide training and development sessions with interactive elements for staff to connect, regardless of where they’re located.
Post-merger, businesses can set up virtual town halls and quarterly meetings for executives to conduct Q&A sessions about the new company. For HR departments, the new combination may have dramatically expanded their recruitment territory.
A virtual event platform helps talent acquisition staff standardize the hiring process and connect with a wider pool of applicants and can provide a better training environment for everyone.
Businesses work tirelessly to develop the right internal culture. All of that effort shouldn’t go down the drain due to a merger or acquisition. By getting creative with some of the tools already at their disposal, businesses don’t have to sacrifice their values or personality for growth.
Has your organization been involved in a merger or acquisition? What steps did you take to protect your corporate culture?