Integration management – how to use workplace design to merger successfully
Seamless integration management is vital for any business merger. Redefining your business architecture to maximise worker collaboration and communication will set your merger up for success along with your newly merged business goals.
A successful business merger
Bringing two (or more) businesses together as a result of a merger is not easy. No surprise there. Different, even opposing, workplace cultures, processes, styles, technologies and so on present plenty of challenges. Not to mention that clients still expect the same seamless service while your competitors will continue to focus on nabbing your customers. Meanwhile, technology continues to march on disrupting just about every aspect of how business is carried out today.
The upside is that business mergers offer a natural opportunity to step back, to review how your business is working and to redefine your business architecture. Seamless integration management is not only vital to delivering a successful merger, it will also help maximise worker collaboration and information management going forward.
Unifying communications and promoting collaboration
Two core components guaranteed to kill any business merger or change management exercise are a lack of communication and lack of transparency. Workers will naturally feel nervous about how the change is going to affect them, their jobs and their job security. So it’s critical they are kept up-to-date through official channels and not through the rumour mill. Everything that can be shared without affecting commercial interests, should be. Equally important is that workers feel they have a chance to contribute and be heard in the merging process. Finding ways for workers to collaborate and incorporate their viewpoints into the transformation must not only be encouraged, but made easy to action.
There are four key requirements to empower a collaborative workforce:
- Encouraging and modelling a culture that promotes collaboration and transparency.
- Unified Communication Technology that is secure, user friendly and that can connect anyone, anytime, on any platform.
- Coordination tools, such as integrated workplace technology solutions, to help bring people together.
- An integrated ICT eco-system and collaboration software that collates digital content in readiness for group collaboration.
Keeping these elements in mind as you move through your business merger will help you get a better merger outcome. It can also help improve your integration management and business set up for the “new normal” once the merger is complete.
Overcoming the challenge of mobility
As you bring the two businesses together, you’re likely to be stitching two workforces that are spread across multiple different locations and who are constantly on the move. This can be a serious challenge to helping the new teams meet, collaborate and unify. Some of these locations may be temporary and only last for the life of the merger, while in other cases, mobile work styles might become the norm going forward. As part of your integration management plan, it pays to consider what elements a more dissipated or mobile workforce will need to be successful.
One key element, for example, is making information accessible where and when it’s needed. Appropriate information management solutions are crucial to a seamless integration and for the survival of any business, especially when executing a business merger. You need to be able to share information easily, accessibly, and yet securely, across two workforces and set up processes to ensure all corporate knowledge and IP is captured, retained and seamlessly integrated.
Another way to manage the changing shape of a merging workforce is with HR management solutions that can capture, process and store documents securely in an easily managed central repository. There’s simply not enough time to spare during a merger to start hunting through poorly organised personnel files and HR related information to locate the right information and documentation – especially when people's jobs and their value in the workplace are under scrutiny.
Workspace design adjustments
Finally, a business merger is also likely to require some physical workspace adjustments. A merger is, by nature, disruptive to communication. So refreshing and adjusting the physical workplace to foster communication, collaboration and productivity will help both your teams adjust to their new work situation quickly, creatively and productively.
The hardware you make available to your team to support a more collaborative and communication friendly workplace is also worth considering. Choosing the right meeting room technology, interactive whiteboard solutions, printers, business projectors and unified communication systems can drive the development of ideas. They can also promote fast collaboration through video, audio, documents and other media to bring content to life securely through flexible, digital mediums.
A successful business merger does not end in the boardroom: it requires deep consideration about what fundamental building blocks will bring the two work teams together and minimise delivery disruptions. You will need to identify new communication, collaboration, mobility and workplace design challenges, opportunities and solutions to help smooth out the merger process for your workers. Equally important is to have a clear vision of how to seamlessly integrate the business structures to meet unrelenting and future demands with minimal disruption. There may be no such thing as a completely challenge-free business merger, but thinking ahead and being prepared can sure help smooth out the creases.
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