|| Whether it is Forbes, The Globe & Mail, The Wall Street Journal or Harvard Business Review, one can’t help but notice that most accounts of business mergers are about what went wrong! In fact, over 70% of all mergers and acquisitions fail to achieve original financial expectations. That is a traumatic statistic. Additionally, although the merging entities give a great deal of importance to financial matters and the outcomes, HR issues are the most ignored ones. To be ironical, many studies have shown that most of the mergers fail to bring out the desired outcomes due to “people-related” issue. The uncertainty brought out by poorly managed HR issues in mergers and acquisitions have been the major reason for these failures.|
The human resource issues in the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) can be classified in two phases the pre-merger phase and the post merger phase. Some literature provides ample evidence of difference in between the human resource activities in the two stages: the pre-acquisition and post acquisition period. However, we will focus on post acquisition period. The post acquisition period involves an assessment of the cultural and organizational differences, which will include the organizational cultures, role of leaders in the organization, and the management styles. The usual impacts, such as high turnover rate, decrease in the morale, motivation, and even lead to M&A failures. The other issues in the M&A activity are the changes in the HR policies, downsizing, layoffs, stress on the workers, and information system issues. As a result, human resource system issues in M&A activity are occupying a crucial position, indeed, human resource planning, compensation designs, performance appraisal system, employee development and employee relations should be given in the priority.
Beside, the M&A activity also causes changes in their well defined career paths and future opportunities in the organization. Some employees also have to be relocated or assigned new jobs. Accordingly, HR will place employees in a completely different situation with new job profiles and work teams or design the job rotation programs. This may pose a tremendous impact on the performance of the employees. Therefore, HR may also need to develop a variety of training system and communication system to rebuild self-esteem of each employee. Those programs will enhance employees to obtain ability and create their potentials.
Finally, the compensation structure among the organizations may also have a unavoidable difference, for example, one of firms may have performance based pay while other may have higher component of fixed pay; Hence the differences in compensation structure and performance appraisal systems also need to be re-evaluated so as to bring equity in the human resource systems and to treat employees at the equal level. Simultaneously, the employee relations issues will gain more importance in the acquisitions of Taiwan’s industries. The power equation between management and unions is bound to change with the acquisition. The acquiring management also needs to keep track of number of unions in the workplace and equations between HR department and unions. Hence, developing a harmony relationship should be put in the first place. To sum up, this will require study of management-union equation, employee contracts, political linkages of the unions, compensation related clauses, number of union and dynamics between the unions. To sun up, once company accomplish those conditions, it will elevate the successful rate of M&A.