Few Companies Address Cultural Issues in M&A Integration

August 4, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Only a small proportion of companies assess cultural issues as part of their integration plans for mergers and acquisitions (M&As), a new survey has found.

According to feedback at Mercer’s M&A Ready workshops attended by senior Human Resource (HR) leaders globally, just 25% of respondents said their company had any type of process in place for dealing with cultural issues to ensure better business integration results.    

Despite this, most companies appear to have strong awareness of culture and talent issues in M&A situations, Mercer said in a news release. When asked about the risk of top talent leaving their organization following an M&A transaction, virtually all attendees said they were concerned about it, and nearly half (46%) said they were “very concerned.” “People issues” in M&A situations also appear to be growing in importance in the minds of attendees: nearly two-thirds (64%) said that people issues are more prominent today than they were one or more years ago.  

According to the news release, Mercer advises companies to focus on four critical steps for early integration success: 

  • Discover and define direction – Engage senior leaders early in the deal to define and agree on the culture necessary to deliver deal success; 
  • Dig deeper – Understand each other’s “way of working” – similarities, differences, risks and potential success derailers; 
  • Determine drivers and deploy – Identify a series of drivers to reinforce the behaviors necessary for success; and 
  • Determine traction – Track and reward progress; monitor success of culture alignment over time. 


For more information on the importance of culture in mergers and acquisitions, visit http://www.mercer.com/mergers-acquisitions.  

A total of 81 attendees completed the survey across six seminar locations: New York, Toronto, Delhi, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Paris.  The results are indicative only and are representative of the feedback from specific organizations with an interest in learning about HR issues in M&A deals.