SELECTING EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS IN A MERGER


• Dedicated intranet site: A dedicated intranet site should be a hub for news, relevant information and FAQs. Archive all employee communications on the site for ongoing reference. • Executive blog: A blog from the combined company’s leadership will explain the transition in a knowledgeable yet personable voice. Postings can be from more than one executive. The blog will also benefit external communications as media and customers access it. • Twitter: It’s easy enough to set up a Twitter account to send and receive tweets relating to the M&A. Remember, this is a public forum. Use the search function to catch mentions in the Twitterverse. Respond to these as appropriate, providing useful, respectful information. • Town hall meetings: Presenting top execs in live settings sends a clear message: leadership cares. Extend the gathering via conference call-ins and Webcasts. The all-important Q&A segment honors employee concerns while exuding confidence in “the deal.” Invite off-site employees to submit questions in advance, which can be answered in tandem with questions from the live audience. • Focus groups: Organize smaller forums (up to 20 attendees) to address issues specific to geographic locations, departments and/or business units. Maintain an agenda but allow the sessions to be flexible and candid. Use feedback to refine upcoming employee communications. • Channel partner communications: Suppliers, distributors, retailers and other channel partners are “in the family” too. Keep them informed with regular communications and solicit their feedback. • Management talking points: Employees will turn to their direct managers for the real story. Provide management with talking points and tips that will allow them to reinforce official M&A communications in their own words. • Ambassador program: Assign key employees as ambassadors to welcome newcomers and help build the new corporate culture. Equip ambassadors with talking points and guidelines similar to those described above. Ambassadors should have substantial company experience, superior communication skills and a commitment to the success of the merger or acquisition. —Jason Karpf

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