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How Intranets Support M&As — And How We Know We’re Ready to Adopt a New Intranet



How Intranets Support M&As — And How We Know We’re Ready to Adopt a New Intranet

We use mergers and acquisitions (M&As) as one of the fastest and most efficient ways to create new growth for our companies, but that reward always comes with some risk. Between 70 to 90% of M&As fail according to The Harvard Business Review, a stat that doesn’t inspire confidence when we want to grow fast.  

But we can’t let the stats discourage us. When we start an M&A, it’s the perfect time to find the tools that can help us defy the odds. 

And one of the best tools we can adopt or change might not seem the most intuitive – our intranet. 

The M&A Challenges that Digital Workplaces (Intranets) Help Solve  

Here’s a more encouraging stat from McKinsey and Company: 79% of companies whose total return outperformed their market index in the first 18 months were still outperforming their peers three years later. This means the first 18-month window of integration is critical for us.

We know many reasons why an M&A might struggle, from financial issues to a lack of strategic direction. Yet, the most common challenges we face relate to one crucial factor — communication.  According to the same McKinsey report, 60% of companies involved in large M&As felt they should have put more resources on culture and change. 

When we see breakdowns in communication, we also see these M&A-killing issues pop up:

  • Culture clashes 
  • Discouraged employees 
  • High employee turnover  
  • High client turnover  
  • Loss of productivity  

An intranet strikes at the heart of these problems. When we consider adopting or changing an intranet, which brings our vital communication channels together, we tacitly admit that mergers and acquisitions communication strategy matters. We admit that employees from all involved parties matter. We give ourselves a fighting chance by building a collective, digital community in our organization.  

Mastering M&A Communication: Your Essential Checklist for Success

Here’s why we would consider adopting an intranet during an M&A:  

  • We need a centralized place for leadership to send announcements, open a dialogue with employees, and see if messages are resonating. 
  • We know our teams use many apps and software that would be more efficient if they lived on one platform. 
  • We need a pulse on the feelings and thoughts of employees that we could gather through surveys or polls.  
  • We want to make knowledge sharing as easy as possible, so no time is lost trying to find information.   
  • We want to welcome new employees, speed up onboarding, and help everyone feel welcome.  
  • We want to make it easier for employees to access resources for professional development or overall wellness.  
  • We need to bring employees together by giving them more ways to share experiences through forums, chat groups, blogs, and videos.  
  • We want employees to share kudos and encourage each other, aiding retention and inspiring teams to do their best work. 

These functions — which put communication and people first — are critical if we want our M&As to succeed. We want to give ourselves the best chance of keeping employees that are bought in, informed, and feel they play a meaningful part in a larger organization. That starts with rethinking how all our communication and knowledge sharing tools will work together while restructuring.  

See how a leading US accounting firm used their intranet to keep their vibrant culture alive post-M&A. 

Going Through an M&A Is Busy Enough – Should We Add or Change the Intranet Now? 

We deal with so many moving parts during an M&A that we might not feel justified changing some of our processes. New organizations bring fresh perspectives and often a different tech stack. When we don’t try to bridge the gaps right away, we risk adding inefficiencies and frustrations to our organization’s workflows. This leads to less productivity and disgruntled employees, which is no recipe for success.  

So, when we think a new or revamped intranet could help our organization, often the best time to start is during our M&A’s integration phase. To make sure everything goes smoothly, we need to evaluate our potential vendors. When we do our vendor research, we’ll want to see if:  

  • They can deploy in a few weeks or months, not years. 
  • Their intranets are compatible with the software we use (ex. Microsoft SharePoint, Teams, etc.). 
  • They let our stakeholders from teams with different functions add their input (HR, IT, Communications, Marketing, etc.). 
  • Their platforms can be accessed from mobile devices, particularly useful for frontline staff. 
  • Their interface can be customized to give the most essential information to each team or employee. 
  • They offer training so our teams can start using the intranet as quickly as possible.  

Would Our Organization Be Ready to Add or Change an Intranet?  

If we think adding an intranet is a commitment, we’d be right, but is that any different from our M&A? When we want to know whether our organization is ready for a new intranet, we only need to ask ourselves if we are ready to pull off the M&A in the first place. If we can confidently answer “yes” to that question, we’re almost certainly ready to integrate an intranet.

Here’s a quick checklist we can use as a self-evaluation: 

  • Would we have a designated owner for the platform?  
  • Does our organization have a clear decision-making process?  
  • Would we have buy-in from our leadership team and do they recognize the importance of a network that connects all employees? 
  • Does our leadership team want to inspire the company through more consistent communication, and would they stick to that commitment?  
  • Could we effectively gather input from all relevant departments in our organization? 
  • If we gather input from multiple teams, could we collectively decide on the primary function of our intranet if we adopt one?  

We might notice that these questions aren’t far removed from what we ask ourselves before an M&A. We want to make sure that our leadership team is bought in and willing to communicate about changes in an open way. We want to make sure we have processes in place to help us make decisions throughout the M&A while also having dedicated owners of that integration process.  

In other words, if we’re answering “yes” to most or all the questions in this checklist, we’ve probably done the due diligence for our M&A, too. The intranet would simply help us achieve what we already set out to do.   

Final Thoughts 

Deciding on an intranet takes a little research, but it can boost our efforts to make our M&A more successful. When we recognize that M&As so often succeed or fail due to how well we build a digital community, we can always find the right tools to achieve our growth goals. 

To kick off your research for at least one intranet — particularly if you currently use Microsoft products — schedule a demo to see the PeopleOne platform in action.  

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