“Companies are best positioned to maximize the value of an acquisition when they identify, plan for, and manage the human element of the PMI process.”
-- Acquis “The Softer Side of Post-Merger Integration (PMI): Maximizing Value in Pharmaceutical M&A Deals”
While it may seem obvious that a successful acquisition requires meticulous PMI planning, critical details are often overlooked in even the most carefully documented integration plans. PMI teams tend to focus on tangible, quantifiable components of the integration, such as corporate governance, financial strategy, and value creation strategy that can be easily documented, planned for, and communicated to shareholders. Other intangible components, such as people, culture, and customer relationship management, however, can get overlooked or not prioritized. According to a senior M&A executive at a Fortune 500 global pharmaceutical company, it is essential to engage with newly acquired employees as quickly as possible to identify potential issues and understand their priorities. It helps reduce frustrations and enables a more seamless integration. It is essential to recognize the importance of the less tangible, people-centric components of PMI because such issues can make or break the long-term success of a transaction. By addressing the human element with a comprehensive change management plan integrated into the overall PMI program, organizations can not only ensure long-term success, but also extract additional value from the deal.
Companies can best position themselves to maximize the value of an acquisition when they identify, plan for, and manage the softer side of the PMI process. By incorporating a change management program to address the human element, companies are more likely to be successful and avoid:
1) Missing key targets and operational goals
2) Losing key employees
3) Cultural misalignment
4) Losing key customers/HCPs.
To achieve this, Acquis recommends three key steps:
1. Include people (internal and external) and culture in early stages of PMI planning: Assign dedicated resources to address people and culture issues early in the pre-close planning process. By identifying and mapping cultural and organizational differences between merging companies early on, management can ensure that people issues are not overlooked later.
2. Map priorities and determine change management strategy: To determine key areas of focus, leaders must conduct deep assessment of both companies to identify and map organizational differences. By understanding the magnitude of the differences and the impact the merger will have on employees in the new organization, management can develop the most effective change management plans.
3. Integrate change management into every step of the PMI program:
World-class PMI teams are known to maintain open lines of communication throughout an entire deal cycle, whether to acknowledge uncertainty, provide concrete details, or simply give a timeframe for expected future communications.