Management information | The Human Side of the Deal
  • Gareth Jones , Director |
  • Aiden Byrne, Manager |

Gareth Jones and Aiden Byrne discuss how you can access real-time insights to make more informed people decisions.

What is the biggest factor in the success of a deal? For many people, it’s speed. In a deal scenario, you need to have up-to-date information, be ready to pivot and make decisions fast. But equally important is the human side of the deal. Afterall, employees are the most critical asset in most, if not all, deals. Get the employee experience wrong, fail to engage your new employees, and it will be difficult to achieve the full value of the deal.

We are going to cover a topic that combines employee experience with the need for speed, by looking at how you can harness real-time data to make more informed people decisions.

Quarterly engagement surveys won’t suffice

Delivering a positive employee experience is critical to engaging and retaining talent – and, consequently, to maintain performance and drive deal value. That’s not easy during an integration, where new employees are having to deal with huge uncertainty and change. All too often, their sentiment is either neglected or only recognised when it’s too late.

Ultimately, that can prove to be the difference between success and failure. In one example, a global FMCG company lost 6 percent of market share because the newly acquired salesforce was not engaged and didn’t know how to operate effectively within its business. Better access to management information could have identified the issue and helped ensure it was addressed early on.

But how do you get that management information  when you need it? You are unlikely to yield results through the ‘tried and trusted’ method of running an employee engagement survey once a quarter. Surveys can give you valuable insights on employee engagement but in a deal scenario, those insights can come too late. You need to have your finger on the pulse of employee sentiment and opinion so you can spot and tackle issues fast. You can do that by going digital.

Go digital for real-time insights

Employees are increasingly comfortable using tech to communicate. During lockdown, we’ve all had to raise our game when it comes to socialising online. In our work with clients,  we’ve found that digital platforms can help drive engagement and, as a result, deal value. These go beyond providing a single source of information for new employees, with platforms enabling them to chat openly about their experiences, ask questions and get honest responses.

Digital platforms can also provide a perfect vehicle for gathering timely insights on employee sentiment. They can enable you to spot check employees’ engagement levels by country, function, department or office, helping you correct course in a more timely and effective fashion.

So how do you encourage people to participate, to share their views openly and provide the management information that means you can improve their experience and maintain productivity?

  • Interact with employees frequently: waiting three months is too long. You need real-time insights and digital makes that possible. You can launch surveys or polls quickly and target these at particular employee groups such as Sales, People Manager etc.
  • Make it easy: people are less likely to participate if a survey is long and difficult to access, so keep it short and take time to ask the right questions in the simplest way
  • Make it fun: employees often respond best when you make the process entertaining. We’ve found that gamification works particularly well and can drive high levels of participation. A simple but effective example is to ask people how they are feeling by selecting a preloaded image which corresponds to their mood. The more interaction, the more ‘badges’ awarded to their profile 
  • Try new things: test different approaches and channels and see what works best. Digital tools mean putting together and distributing a poll doesn’t have to be an onerous task
  • Share and act on feedback: people will stop interacting with you if you fail to share your findings openly and aren’t seen to act on their comments – or at least explain why you haven’t

Get it right and you’ll get rapid fire inputs and insights on how the workforce is feeling. It can also act as a positive reinforcement of your culture. The very act of showing an interest and interacting with your new employees can improve levels of engagement.

We’d love to hear what techniques you’ve used to gather management information on the employee experience during a merger or acquisition. Get in touch if you’d like to discuss any of the points raised or how we can support your integration.