In this episode we advise on what to do when your company gets acquired. Most of us don’t know if our company is going to change structure, ownership, or leadership, so when something big is announced it can be a bit shocking and can cause us to ask, “What happens to me?”
What do you do that day? Acknowledge your feelings - you’re going to get flooded with emotion. It’s scary. The number 1 thing you can do is take care of yourself. Continue to breathe. Take a walk. Understand that the feelings of uncertainty are normal and expected, but don’t pretend they aren’t there.
That said, if you’re a manager or a leader, you need to take a deep breath and lead your people. You can tell them how you feel, but also exude confidence. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Be as honest and forthright as you can. Admit what you don’t know. And save your meltdown for time away from your team.
As an individual contributor, attend all meetings the company has for you, but make sure you keep getting your job done. Remember that being adaptable is the #1 skill that help people have successful careers. Being reliable is always helpful in staying a necessary resource. As an individual contributor you can control your adaptability, your attitude, your willingness to help, and your performance. Being the person who asks how you can help with the transition will make you invaluable.
After day 1, learn about any upsides or golden handcuffs that come along with the deal. Are there bonuses for staying? Does anything happen to your pay? Your benefits? Your equity? Who at the new company does the same thing as you? Knowing your situation helps you assess where you can fit in the new org.
That said, it’s a great time to brush up your resume and start exploring opportunities. Look for ways to help ease the transition in time of change. Post-acquisition layoffs happen. Be ready.
Assess the culture of the new place. How did they announce it? What was the welcome like? How happy do the new people seem? Judge the new place against your must-have list. Be aware. Ask questions. Be a calm force looking at things objectively to best assess the situation.
Look at how you’re welcomed- you learn a lot about a company when you see how they handle an acquisition. Is it employee first? Are you left in the dark? Are they focused on assuaging your fears? How is your manager handling it?
Are there skill gaps between your old and new responsibilities? Try and fill them whenever possible if you want to stay and make yourself a stronger candidate for an internal or external search. Do whatever you need to do to be a great candidate for any job search.
Figure out what this means to you, talk to your Board of Advisors for advice, and give it a chance to see if it can be a good change.