You’ve seen the writing on the walls for weeks.

People on the management team disappear into mysterious closed-door meetings for hours at a time. You’ve been asked to compile data about company costs and employee usage rates. There’s been a general sense of unease at the office.

And during today’s all-staff meeting, the dreaded words were finally uttered: company merger 

There’s nothing more stressful than dealing with an acquisition or merger. You’re in for some interesting changes, but don’t worry. We’re here to help you navigate the latest changes in your company so you can keep your career intact.

Navigating the Company Merger: Our 5 Essential Tips 

It can be difficult to stay cool when you’re in the middle of a company merger. There are so many questions on your mind.

Will I still have a job in a few weeks? What’s going to happen to my colleagues? Am I going to have to take a pay cut if I want to stay on?

Unfortunately, we can’t answer those questions for you. We can, however, give you some tips that can help you manage whatever comes your way. 

When you learn that a company merger can’t be avoided, make sure you remember these crucial tips. 

1. Prepare for the Worst

People can underestimate just how jarring mergers and acquisitions can be for everyone involved. Oftentimes, nobody is safe. Everyone from the part-time secretary to C-level employees has uncertain futures at the company.

You could end up staying with the new company and find that you don’t like the new direction. You may find that half of your department got terminated and you need new employees. You could find out that your position has been eliminated. 

Now isn’t the time to panic, it’s the time to prepare. 

As soon as you know the merger is happening, take the time to fully update your resume. If you have any current work you want to add to your portfolio, grab it from company computers now.

You never know what can happen to important files when new people come on board. It’s possible that your access to files could change or that things have been deleted. That’s why it’s important to gather things while there’s still time.

This is also the perfect time to go to networking events and touch base with friends and old business connections. If you end up looking for a job or need to find people to hire, they could come in very handy. 

2. Choose Your Words Wisely 

Mergers are a very sensitive time for companies. Whether you’re an entry-level employee or a VP, it’s important to think about the way you discuss everything that’s going on.

If you’re in management, don’t say anything concrete about the merger until you’re 100% sure about what’s happening.

It’s far too easy for managers to accidentally spread misinformation to their direct reports during this time. Don’t confirm or deny things unless you can say then with absolute certainty. 

People that are feeling negatively about what’s happening should also be careful about who they express their opinions too. You never know who will be listening. A frustrated off the cuff comment could lead to problems for you in the future.

3. Communicate Your Willingness 

Do you love the company you’re currently working for? Are you looking forward to talking to the newest owners about your ideas on how to help improve products or services? Let your eagerness be known! 

Happy and willing to work employees are critical during a merger. They won’t just do the hard work that’s needed at the new company, they can also help create buy-in from employees that may be on the fence about staying at the new company.

Set some time to talk to higherups about how you want to help make the merger go as smoothly as possible. Even if you don’t have a concrete plan, just knowing that you’re offering support can be important for people.

4. Read Paperwork Carefully

This tip goes for the people selling their company, acquiring a new one, or simply going through the merger action because they’re an employee. Whenever there’s a merger happening, pay very close attention to any piece of paper you have to sign. 

Are you accepting a severance package? Severance pay often comes with strings attached.

Accepting the money may mean not working for a competitor, or even speaking negatively about your experience. Make sure you thoroughly comb through the agreement before you sign.

If you’re accepting a position in the newly formed company, read your contract carefully, even if you’re in the exact same role. The new company may handle pay, benefits, or duties carefully. 

This isn’t the time to guess and assume that everything is in order. Don’t be afraid to bring in the help of an attorney if there’s anything you don’t understand or are concerned about.

5. Evaluate Your New Company

So you’ve survived the merger and now you’re working within your new company. You may have kept your job, but the work isn’t over yet.

When you’re dealing with the stress of a merger you’re so concerned about the possibility of losing your job, you don’t take the time to consider if you actually want to keep it.

Now it’s time for you to decide if you want to stay with the new company. You may find that the way things are going aren’t working for you. 

Think about the new company culture and if you’re a good fit. See if you mesh well with new employees and management. Decide if you’re happy with the work you’re assigned and what you’re producing. 

The Expert Help You Need

A company merger can be a stressful time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an impossible situation to navigate. If you stay in the right frame of mind and handle things as they come, you can easily survive whatever comes your way.

Are you a business owner that’s about to go through their first merger? Are you a concerned employee that wants to learn how to handle an impending merger in the right way?

We’re here to help. Be sure to reach out to us today so we can answer any questions and handle any concerns you may have.

Bryan De Bruin

Bryan De Bruin is a Real Estate and Business Law attorney serving Greenville, SC and the surrounding upstate. Bryan is proud to guide clients through the legal process and makes sure that every client understands each phase of their case, so that they are prepared for what happens next.