Change Management Mergers and Acquisitions | Framework, Tips & Techniques


The Best Guide for Impact Assessment for M&A Change Management – Everything You Need

This free guide provides you with everything you need to know about change management for pre and post mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Change management is about managing the “people” side of change and transition. One of the types of organizational transitions that has the largest impact on the people of an organization is a merger and acquisition.

People are naturally apprehensive during an M&A and there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the merger of different organizations and their teams. If fears and uncertainty aren’t addressed properly through change management after acquisition and before the acquisition or merger, issues can arise.

An M&A can fail to meet expectations and company performance can suffer if good employees are jumping ship and those remaining are spending more time worrying about what’s coming than embracing the transition and doing their part to make the company successful. This is a key factor behind the importance of change management in mergers and acquisitions. More on this below.


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Change Impact Assessment Toolkit for Change Management Mergers and Acquisitions


Effective management of change during merger and acquisition can make all the difference between positive employee participation in the newly transformed company, and a project that fails to meet its objectives.

In this article, we’ll review two of the most important parts of change management M&A strategy, which are the change impact assessment and employee readiness assessment.

Knowing how to conduct these to facilitate change management during mergers and acquisitions can improve the overall outcome of this very impactful type of change.


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What Is M&A Change Management?

Change management is an approach and set of tactics used to guide people through a change. Those people are called “stakeholders” and they would include any internal or external groups being impacted by the change.

M&A change management is when change management is applied to facilitate the transition caused by a merger or acquisition.

The main steps of a change impact assessment and employee readiness assessment will be similar for M&A change management as for other changes. However, change management mergers and acquisitions activities will tend to be more organizational culture-focused, as typically corporate culture is changing along with an M&A.

The change management team may also be coordinating two different sets of similar change management M&A activities, since each company may have different impacts.

change management m&a

Use AGS’ Change Impact Assessment Toolkit for effective management of change during merger and acquisition.


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What is the Importance of Change Management in Mergers and Acquisitions?

According to a survey by McKinsey of M&A executives, it’s organizational problems like failure to adopt (1) a new corporate culture or (2) changed operating models that are responsible for nearly 50% of the failure when mergers don’t meet projections.

The importance of change management in any project impacting people is well documented. It’s especially important when it comes to M&A because there will typically be a large magnitude of different impacts happening to everyone on both sides of the equation.

Change management before acquisition helps prepare everyone for the changes to come so there is less apprehension and resistance. Change management after acquisition helps everyone to adapt to their new normal and successfully transition to the new corporate culture, systems, and other changes.


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Steps for Conducting a Change Impact Assessment for M&A

Now, let’s look at the importance of change management and impact assessment for mergers and acquisitions. Here are several of the ways an impact assessment will help guide the facilitation of a successful M&A on the people side of things.

  • Identifies all organizational units, departments, and job roles being impacted
  • Identifies HOW each of those organizational groups is being impacted
  • Helps you determine the level of training needed for groups
  • Guides the types of awareness communications needed for various impacted groups
  • Tells you where you need change agents to help with change support
  • Identifies where you’re likely to get the most resistance to the change
  • Tells you what types of job role guides and documentation are needed
  • Identifies all the different types of changes happening due to the M&A (culture, process, system, organizational structure, etc.)

The impact assessment for change management mergers and acquisitions activities is one of the first things you’ll do to manage the change.


change management after acquisition

The AGS 360 Change Impacts Assessment Toolkit makes it easy to wrap your head about the changes and facilitates reporting for change management during mergers and acquisitions.


M&A Change Management Steps for an Impact Assessment

  • Learn About the Changes: Meet with the appropriate leadership to fully understand all the changes happening during the merger or acquisition in detail.
  • Request Documentation: Request documentation such as new charters, mission statements, process flows, and other details that will help you identify what each impacted group needs to do to successfully transition.
  • Identify the Impacted Groups: Reviewing the information you gathered from meetings and documentation, identify all impacted groups in all impacted organizations. It’s best if you enter this information into an impact assessment template so you can easily generate reports and track your activities.
  • Categorize the Type & Severity of the Changes: For each change that is happening, identify the type(s) of change (culture, system, process, etc.). For each impacted group, identify the severity level of the change, which will help you prioritize your change management engagement.
  • Interview Impacted Group Managers & Key Stakeholders: To ensure you’ve accurately captured the changes and severity level of each one, interview the managers and key stakeholders of impacted groups for their input. Update your impact assessment accordingly.
  • Socialize Your M&A Change Management Impact Assessment: Print out reporting from your change management impact assessment template and socialize your assessment with project leads and key sponsors and leadership.
  • Finalize Your Change Management M&A Assessment: Update your change impact assessment with the input you’ve received and finalize your finding so you can move on to other change management mergers and acquisitions activities.

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How to Assess Employee Readiness Using Change Management During Mergers and Acquisitions

Another important type of assessment you need to conduct for effective management of change during merger and acquisition is an organizational readiness assessment.

How ready are the staff of the impacted organizations for the transition? Do they have clarity on exactly how their position will be impacted? Do they know what new processes, culture, and/or procedures need to be adopted once the merger or acquisition is completed?

The readiness assessment is performed at different points in an M&A project so you can track progress on employee readiness for the change.

What are some of the M&A change management readiness KPI’s you need to collect?

  • Awareness level of the change
  • Level of support for the change
  • Level of knowledge about the new processes/culture/systems
  • Proficiency in the new processes/culture/systems
  • Capacity for absorbing the necessary information and training
  • The current culture of the group that needs to be transitioned to a new culture

How do you capture those KPI’s?

You can capture the readiness information for your M&A change readiness assessment in a few different ways:

  • Surveys to the employees and/or their managers and leadership
  • Workshops (in-person or virtual) with impacted groups
  • Observations from interacting with the group
  • Feedback from sponsored, managers, and change champions
  • Training scores for knowledge of a new system and/or proficiency level

effective management of change during merger and acquisition

Example of an Organizational Readiness Assessment Survey in the AGS Readiness Assessment Toolkit


Final Words on Effective Management of Change During Merger and Acquisition

Change management in mergers and acquisitions is a critical component to ensure employees and other impacted stakeholders can transition successfully and productively.

Because the number of changes is usually quite high during M&A, the importance of change management is magnified. Through effective change management practices, you can mitigate negative impacts on employees throughout a transition and increase their buy-in, support, and engagement in the newly transformed organization.


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AGS 360° Business Impact Assessment Tool


Change Management Mergers and Acquisitions FAQs

What is change management M&A?

Change management is an approach and set of tactics used to guide people through a change. Those people are called “stakeholders” and they would include any internal or external groups being impacted by the change.

M&A change management is when change management is applied to facilitate the transition caused by a merger or acquisition.

How do you manage changes in a merger?

You manage changes in a merger by implementing a change management framework that focuses on preparing employees for the transitions they’re about to go through.

Some of the key components of managing M&A change are:
• Assessing organizational group & role impacts
• Assessing organizational readiness for the transition
• Communicating the changes with impacted employees
• Training and coaching as needed to help employees learn the new processes, systems, culture, policies, etc.
• Providing support and change management after acquisition or merger to ensure everyone adapts successfully to the new environment

How do mergers and acquisitions relate to organizational change?

Mergers and acquisitions are one of the types of transformations that involve a lot of things that are changing. Roles and responsibilities, corporate culture, processes, systems, policies, and more can be changed during M&A.

Because the number of changes is usually quite high during M&A, the importance of change management is magnified. Through effective change management practices, you can mitigate negative impacts on employees and increase their buy-in, support, and engagement in the newly transformed organization.

What is the importance of change management in mergers and acquisitions?

According to a survey by McKinsey, organizational problems like failure to adopt a new corporate culture or changed operating models are responsible for nearly 50% of the failure when mergers don’t meet projections.

Change management before acquisition helps prepare everyone for the changes to come so there is less apprehension and resistance. Change management after acquisition helps everyone to adapt to their new normal and successfully transition to the new corporate culture, systems, and other changes.



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