You've Merged With a Huge Company. Now What?
Business as usual doesn't seem to be in my professional vocabulary these days, and I'm loving it. Since my company, Blinds.com, was acquired by the Home Depot earlier this year, my days have shifted from merger and acquisition intensity to full-on integration efforts with our new partners.
As much as I love being on the edge of the day-to-day operational activities in my company (and I say edge because as CEO, you're the most useful being the visionary leader, not the guy balancing the books, right?), this integration period is an exciting one.
Here are my strategies for getting my employees as excited as I am during this integration phase.
After the glow of the big news fades, the rumor mill takes hold if you're not careful. No matter the initial response to an acquisition, change is very stressful, especially when there is an impact, perceived or real, on compensation, stability, and day-to-day responsibilities.
Let's be real for a moment about smart communication. Sending out vague and verbose companywide emails every once in a while doesn't count as helpful communication. Boring PowerPoints and long-winded diatribes don't either.
Instead, combat the fear with regular and frequent "state of the union" communications with your employees. As CEO, make sure to include these points:
- Where we're going, when, and how we're going to get there
- How we're doing so far
- What's working
- What I hope starts working better soon
Reach your employees through as many channels as possible, and be smart in how you're crafting your message. Treat this kind of communication strategically, as you would any marketing piece--in this instance, you're marketing internally to your team members on the ongoing success of their labors and new business partners.
Ask for Feedback
Continuous improvement is one of our company's core values, and this focus doesn't fall by the wayside during a large company transition. This is a great time to gauge your employees' sentiments, to pick up on any warning signs that key aspects of your company culture are at risk. As with any companywide poll, keep it easy to respond to (no giant essay questions or tricky software to log in to), keep it anonymous, and keep it important.
Our human resources team launched a simple online poll to evaluate our Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), asking questions like, "How likely are you to recommend working at Blinds.com to a friend or colleague?" HR will resend this same poll in three months to see where we stand then, and you better believe we'll dig down and act on any changes from the earlier responses.
We run an Agile programming shop, which, for you nontechie folks out there, is a kind of software development methodology that includes "sprints," to break up larger development tasks, and daily standup meetings to check in.
During this integration phase, I run a similar scrum for my senior leadership team in which we meet daily (yes, I said daily) to touch base on the day's key issues and updates. From there, these top-level managers disseminate the information needed to the right people on their teams to get the job done.
What are some of your tips in helping your company weather great (and exciting!) change? Leave a comment below or tweet me at @BlindsComCEO.
JAY STEINFELD | Columnist | CEO, Blinds.com