This piece was originally published on Eightfold.ai


Getting a read on the skills of a workforce before, during, and after a merger or acquisition too often comes secondary to evaluating an asset's potential for value and growth. We all know that its not new news that Most deals fail due to a lack of attention to talent, so what can we do to change this picture? And how can AI deliver a talent advantage?
 

With a better grasp on who has what skills among both companies involved, you can better structure the deal, know what talent is being brought in, with data, see where there are skills gaps, learn where there is skill synergies, and better decide how teams should be blended and talent deals structured.
 

Here are five tips for finally giving talent the attention it deserves during a merger or acquisition.

  1. Know your skills quota. Consider an investor in the energy sector looking at different potential assets for acquisition with skills in sustainability and alternative energy sources. Having data from the outset on what talent and skill sets exist in an organization will define the asset's value and provide insight into integration opportunities and potential challenges.

  2. Prioritize your talent challenges. Are there any skill sets that you need to retain that are critical? How robust is the talent pipeline, and what are the implications for retention bonuses and future skill development required to sustain growth?  How do the cultures differ, and what will be essential for cultural integration? Knowing such answers early will help clarify the critical talent priorities that will drive deal value post-integration.

  3. Move at speed and scale. A deal may take many months to deliver. During that time, talent may be targeted by competitors or be active in the market themselves. Getting technology to access data on people and validate their skill sets quickly helps HR and leaders accelerate enterprise-wide people decisions.

  4. Invest in leaders and stabilize talent moves quickly. Know whether the leadership skills you are buying have (or do not have) the skills needed for the next phase of the organization's growth. Specifically, direct the identification of change management skills in business unit leaders as managing change will be essential to prepare all levels of leadership to integrate and transform the organization post deal.

  5. Help employees help themselves. Review the mix of personas within the acquired organization and co-create plans to improve their employee experience, especially for valued professionals. Help employees understand the future success criteria for the organization and invest in targeted skill development to aid their job security and improve their market value. This also enables leadership to forecast future skills and build a plan to address any skills gaps that may be essential to close for future success.
Kate Bravery
by Kate Bravery

Global Advisory Solutions & Insights Leader at Mercer

Julie van Waveren
by Julie van Waveren

M&A Advisory Services, Partner

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