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Retention Strategies for Mergers and Acquisitions

Authors: Carl I. Greenberg, Pragmatic HR Consulting; Rita Van Vranken, PeopleADVANTAGE


A merger is when two or more entities combine to become one, versus an acquisition, which occurs when one entity purchases the other. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) can have a significant impact on employee retention as the separate entities integrate into one.

Most organizations focus on the business and financial side of the merger or acquisition, but often overlook what they perceive to be the less tangible concerns related to employees, but the ultimate success of the deal depends upon a successful integration. The risk of a failed merger increases when the entities involved do not satisfactorily address employee-related issues. As a result, it is important to include HR strategic partners when addressing issues during all phases: pre-, during and post-integration.

This guide identifies areas that can affect employee retention during a merger or integration, including:

  • Culture fit;
  • Organizational design;
  • Retention of key and critical talent;
  • Employment agreements; and a
  • Project, change and communication plan.