‘Gossip and hostility can spread’ – preparing staff for a post-acquisition future

Without the correct prep and buy-in, the excitement of a merger or acquisition can give way to rumour and suspicion among your team.

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Most businesses have their eyes set on growth, which is what makes mergers and acquisitions so exciting. But, in the excitement of expansion, it’s easy to forget the impact this experience will have on your biggest asset – your people.

Failing to both recognise and address the emotional toll that a merger or acquisition can have on your team from the top down can quickly strain relationships which is why between 70% and 90% of M&As fail.

So, how can you do right by your people – new and old? It comes down to the four Cs – communication, collaboration, culture and celebration.


First, communication – think internal, before external.

As soon as possible, you need to clearly outline to your people why the process is taking place, the expected changes, and how this will impact them. It’s important to reference key areas of concern for your people, which are usually job cuts. But, these can also include changes in leadership, their job role – even the location of the business.

All have a huge impact on welfare and morale. It’s likely this information won’t be available immediately, but in that case you need to indicate a timeline for when it will be.

It’s important, too, to outline how frequently employees can expect to hear updates and meet those deadlines. Talking employees through the change curve is a valuable exercise, and massively helps with employee engagement.


No one likes feeling excluded, so collaborate with your employees and include them in integration activities.

The management level or HR team are likely having to field questions from junior team members which put them in awkward positions. Don’t leave them in the dark. Instead, make them your ‘change champions’, and give them the tools to support the wider workforce and bring them on board.

One thing that really helped BauWatch when it merged with Securo was the creation of a ‘board below the board.’ This was, effectively, a second layer management team who provided additional structure and helped filter messages to the right people.


As well as being worried about job security, people will have opinions on the goings on. If left unchecked, gossip and hostility can spread – even if it’s not coming from a bad place. This can have a huge impact on your workplace culture.

You need to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to how your people are feeling. When we decided to merge with Securo, we ran workshops with an external consultant, which gave the staff a chance to feedback on how things are going and a safe space to raise any concerns.

Soft surveys like net promoter scores can also help keep tabs on team satisfaction and confirm if you’re doing things right by your team, or if new processes need to be put in place.


My last tip is to invest in fun, team-building activities for your people throughout the process – after all, you couldn’t do it without them.

Not only that, but there’s likely to be new faces brought into the business that the existing team need to get to know. Our first Christmas post-merger, we splashed out on a big end-of-year bash and supplied transport so that people from up and down the country could come together and celebrate.

And overall, that’s what a merger should be – a celebration. There’s a German phrase – enkelfähig – coined by our parent company, Haniel, which rings true to my first acquisition experience. In English, it roughly translates to ‘investing in the future’.

At its core that’s what acquisition is: blending two businesses, investing in people and processes to create something even better.

Alexis Potter of Bauwatch headshot
Alexis Potter

Alexis Potter is the Managing Director of leading site security specialist, BauWatch UK. In 2021, Alexis supervised the merger of BauWatch with security tech provider Securo. Today, the company has successfully grown its brand and its workforce, originally 19 people, to a combined 60 across the UK.

Alexis Potter
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