Five Ways to Support Your Employees during a Merger

By Glenn Christensen06.19.2017

Organizational change can be quite exciting for credit union leaders. In the face of a merger, decision makers have put a lot of time, effort, and research into the process, working to understand how to make the final outcome as optimal as possible for everyone involved.

Employees, on the other hand, may not express the same levels of excitement as their superiors. They’re often left feeling uneasy, questioning how the organizational change will impact their lives and workplaces. Will they still have a job? Should they be worried that they won’t adapt well to the changes?

As a leader, you know you’ve done all you can to ensure your employees are taken care of after the merger is finalized. It’s important to remember that your employees are probably not as privy to information pertaining to the merger as you are. To facilitate a smooth, successful transition as you undertake your organizational change, it is vital to support your employees so they stay engaged with boosted morale throughout the process.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure you and your employees are on the same page:

1. Hold open forums.

Communication is absolutely imperative. Your employees need to be able to go right to the source when they have questions or concerns. If they feel uneasy and have no outlet through which to ask questions or obtain answers, you’ll likely be facing a rumor mill that unnecessarily revolves around negativity.

2. Reinforce the benefits.

It is important that your employees understand the merger is a good thing. The merger will offer many benefits to your employees and members, and advertising these advantages will help your team feel supported. Focus on:

  • Improved technology
  • Greater service offerings
  • Potential opportunities for advancement
  • Increased footprint
  • Possibility of increased salaries or improved employee benefits

3. Empower key employees.

Empower your workforce by inviting key employees to play a strategic role in the merger integration process. It’s vital that your employees feel heard and represented as this organizational change gets underway. Perhaps you invite employees with seniority to certain meetings, or maybe you find a way to facilitate communication by designating specific team members to be the sounding board for the other staff members.

In any event, empowerment is essential if you want your team members to feel like you have their best interest at heart.

4. Celebrate successes.

Success may be a huge thing, or it could be something small that makes someone’s day just a little brighter. You don’t have to wait for something miraculous to happen to make your employees feel important. During this time of change and uncertainty, celebrate the little things by building a culture of appreciation that lets your employees know you’re paying attention to the great jobs they’re doing.

Send out “Congratulations!” emails, have a potluck day to honor a great milestone, or create a newsletter that recognizes great accomplishments. If you’re unsure how to recognize your team, ask for feedback. That, alone, will go a long way.

5. Be part of the culture.

This isn’t the time to hide behind a closed office door. Mingle with your team so your employees feel comfortable coming to you with questions and concerns.

When it comes to credit union mergers, there are a lot of moving parts. As you dig through the research, attend meetings, and finalize plans, don’t overlook the people who have made your CU successful thus far.

Glenn Christensen is founder and president of CEO Advisory Group, the first merger and acquisitions consultancy focusing on the credit union industry. Reprinted with permission from www.CUInsight.com, an independent source for credit union news founded by Randy Smith and John Pettit.

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