What The HR Community Can Take Away From The Twitter Acquisition

On April 25, 2022, Twitter announced that it had accepted Elon Musk’s offer to acquire the publicly-traded company and social media platform for $44 billion.

In a press release issued by the company, Elon Musk said, "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated." I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating spambots, and authenticating all humans. "Twitter has tremendous potential—I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."

However, Twitter employees worry that Mr. Musk will destroy the company’s culture and create a punishing work environment similar to that which exists at Tesla. A survey conducted by Blind reveals that 68% of Twitter employees disapprove of Musk’s tweets about company strategy, and 78% say he doesn’t have the best interests of Twitter and its shareholders in mind.

In any case, "people issues" are the number one reason for the failure of mergers and acquisitions. This is where HR comes in. 

For any merger to succeed, HR professionals must understand that the most valuable asset in the transaction is talent, not capital. If not handled properly, you face the risk of losing your staff, which is the backbone of your company.

So here are three ways HR professionals can ensure mergers and acquisitions are successful while retaining their best talent.

While retaining their best talent.

1. Communication openly and effectively

While it is necessary that some details be kept confidential, ensure that the employees are aware of why the merger is happening, and what the future of the organization looks like. If you fail to do this, employees will make up their own stories about what is going on. Be as open as possible. This eases the anxiety that employees feel and also ensures that everyone is on the same page.  

2. Define the company culture

At the beginning of the merger process, HR leaders must define clearly what the combined culture will be like. What are the values that you'd like to retain? What new values would you like to incorporate? Are there any significant changes to the operating model? These and other important questions need to be addressed to achieve a successful merger. 

3. Leverage HR Tech

The HR team needs to have data-driven technology to help with paperwork, implementing new policies, comparing different reward structures, tracking the adoption of new work processes, and carrying out all other necessary procedures in order to ensure a successful merger. 

In conclusion, mergers and acquisitions are sometimes unavoidable. However, organizations must plan for their most important asset—their people—before entering into a merger or acquisition. If the needs of employees are not adequately addressed and their minds put at ease, the very foundation of the business (the people) is lost completely.