Leadership and communication
The Results are dramatic in two respects. First, consider the sheer level of employee engagement of those working for employee-centric senior managers. Regardless of the M&A conditions, their employee engagement index scores exceed 90% and are four to six times higher than for those working for senior managers classified as not employee centric. Second, even under the normally traumatizing condition of a merger or acquisition accompanied by layoffs, the average engagement index score of those working for employee-centric senior managers is an incredibly high 92%.
These Results prove that the negative consequences to employee engagement of mergers and acquisitions combined with employee layoffs can be mitigated. What is required? The answer is having senior managers who are sensitive to the concerns and worries of employees and who, aided by this understanding, take the necessary counter-balancing steps. Such steps include being visible to employees, showing concern for their welfare, communicating a clear picture of the direction the company is taking and reinforcing how employees are critical to the organization achieving its goals. When this happens, senior managers emerge as credible and capable, which in turn causes employees to be confident of the future. These are the very actions that sustain employee engagement even under normally trying circumstances.
Mergers and acquisitions are a way of life in industry today. Over the past ten years, 10-15% of U.S. workers have been impacted by M&A activity. The engagement of workers whose companies have merged with, or been acquired by another company does not automatically decline. However, when layoffs are involved, the impact is usually negative. The drivers of engagement that suffer the most include confidence in the organization’s future and its senior leaders, employees believing that they have a promising future with the company, and that the company provides its customers with higher quality products and services than its competitors.
These declines in confidence can be offset by employee-centric senior managers who take the time to be visible to employees and clearly explain the company’s future direction. When senior leaders credibly display this type of concern for the welfare and morale of the workforce, employee engagement levels can actually soar. It boils down to leadership and the value senior managers place on the human assets of the organization.
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