Engagement Survey during M&A

Looking for feedback, or previous experiences with organization engagement surveys amongst an acquisition. Any tips or tricks for success?

Great question! Culture Amp has some questions to ask during mergers and acquisitions and we’ve broken it into two broad areas:

  1. Change Readiness: feedback collected pre-acquisition which give useful insight into how employees are feeling about the upcoming change and things an organisation can do to help the process go more smoothly.
  2. Change Adoption: feedback collected during or post-acquisition and provides feedback about how the change has been received and understood.

It’s important to consider collecting feedback about the acquisition both before and after (or often considered ‘during’ due to the amount of time it takes for the acquisition or merger to be ‘complete’).

Communication is the top tip for a successful merger or acquisition - a company cannot over-communicate! Communicating that you’ve heard the employees feedback and connecting the feedback to action taken is so important so that employees feel heard.

As with any employee feedback, a survey is a two-way conversation so question design is important - do not ask things that you cannot necessarily action.

Organisations can be reluctant to collect employee feedback during times of change such as an acquisition but doing so can provide powerful insights to then take action on to assist with a smooth transition.

There is a lot more detail I can go into so please let me know if you’d like more granular tips and tricks and I’d be happy to share!

This blog might also help: Why you need to collect employee feedback during change | Culture Amp

During significant change like an acquisition, colleagues can feel a huge wave of uncertainty; so if you’re simply trying to assess how they are feeling and get feedback, is an engagement survey the right thing to do? Would it be better to help line managers (and leaders) have quality conversations with their teams during this time - more personal and meaningful for colleagues? You could also set up an online Q&A area where people can ask anything to do with the acquisition (anonymously) - and it could be a really useful resource centre for colleagues. Hope that helps.

Hello, I agree with HenryDavies. An engagement survey during the acquisition process may not add a lot of value. A Q&A area for people to ask questions works well as the biggest challenge is ambiguity and uncertainty. We recently under went a merger and are planning for an Engagement Pulse for 6 months post the merger. This will allow people to provide feedback on the changes they have experienced. We are guided by the principle of only asking for feedback we are in a position to take action on it. For us that is post the initial merger activities. Good luck with your acquisition.

I worked for an organization that was growing through mergers and acquisitions, so we would have at least one per year. Separate to our engagement surveys, we also used change readiness and change adoption surveys during these processes. We tended to use cross-section of the company, shared the results across the company and actions taken as a result. Also included an option for employees to reach out with any other feedback. As noted below, communication is the key.

MelD, love your approach of the change readiness and adoption surveys. This is what I was referring to in my original approach (i.e., the Culture Amp template) and not a standard Engagement Survey.

I agree with HenryDavies and SMcCormick - an engagement survey during change may not be beneficial due to the uncertainty and might result in skewed data that is difficult to action.

I have seen customers benefit from asking change readiness and change adoption specific questions to be able to take action even during change.