Preparing for a merger and acquisition (M&A) integration? Make sure you're aware of potential pitfalls that could become a distraction for your team, wasting precious time and scarce resources. While the first few years following an M&A vary from business to business, there are universal steps that all small business owners can take to prepare for potential challenges.

Staffing Redundancies

After an M&A integration, certain roles may become redundant. The M&A Leadership Council notes that as two organizations become a unified central operation, certain functions in human resources, sales and even marketing may become obsolete. Fearing their roles will be eliminated, employees may attempt to protect themselves by preemptively leaving your company.

One way to prepare for that challenge is to be as transparent as possible with the right people. Share your long-term organizational plans with key players to assure them that their roles will remain intact. Focus on reassigning top performers to new company initiatives before they're at risk of being let go.

Technology Hiccups

To prepare for an M&A, companies will often conduct a thorough technology audit to ensure that systems are compatible. But it's impossible to know the nuances of a company's technology stack until the integration process begins. If software is a component to your business, expect the M&A integration process to involve some element of the unknown. From employees' personal information to client data to user experience, the technology landscape comes with many intricacies.

During an M&A, responsibilities exchange hands, and human error can cause key details to fall through the cracks. As part of your contingency plan, prepare for the unknown of a potential technology hiccup and ensure you have the right backup plans in place.

Ever-Shifting Org Charts

Following an M&A integration, it can take several years for the resulting organization to find its new stride. You may want to keep all operations separate, for instance, until careful steps are taken to evaluate a future plan. As a result, organizational charts may be uncertain, unstable or perpetually changing for several years.

It's especially important that management and leadership take the time to prepare staff for a period of change. Ensure that all members understand why certain decisions are taking place. Transparency will help position organizational shifts as new areas of strategic opportunities.

Changing plans doesn't need to create fear within your workforce. Celebrate promotions and motivate employees to develop and chart out career paths on their own. An M&A integration can be a win-win for almost everyone on the team by providing the entire operation with a chance to learn, adapt and evolve.

Tags: integration merger m&a Acquisition