Employee Benefits

Advice for Employees During a Merger or Acquisition – Assessing Benefit Changes

Part one in a series of four discussions on benefit issues and opportunities during M&A

business people

Increased numbers of American companies are evaluating mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as a growth opportunity to expand or shore up business operations. Often these deals take months, if not years, to reach an agreement that both companies approve.

Not surprisingly, employee benefits issues often become obstacles that impact the success of an M&A, including the approval of the agreement, satisfaction and productivity of employees at both companies, and the bottom line.

Employees working for a company that is considering an M&A usually are concerned about the viability of their jobs and benefits. Instead of losing yourself in negativity and worry, approach the new opportunity with an open mind and a positive attitude. Here are four tips to help you through an M&A:

  • Employee participation – Ask your employer to appoint several respected employees to participate in the M&A discussions; represent employee concerns about changes to jobs and benefits; focus on building strong relationships for the successful retention of valuable employees


  • Evaluate benefit options – Typically both companies involved have different employee benefit plans and perks; create a list of priority benefits at your company; review the benefits offered by companies; ask to review the differences with management team members to determine those that are most important, and discuss options to compensate for cuts or make adjustments for changes


  • Keep communication lines open – Successful M&A agreements require open communication that flows regularly between management and employees; calmly discuss changes in jobs, work processes and benefits; remember your response to the M&A may affect your long-term role with the company


  • Focus on results – Change usually requires a period of adjustment; maintain an open mind about the changes and look for ways to smooth out disagreements and differences; focus on the desired goals of the M&A and work toward accomplishing them

When companies announce they are considering merging with or acquiring another business, employees naturally become concerned about changes that will occur throughout the process, and with their benefit plans.

Do you know someone who has been through a company merger or acquisition? If so, how do you think it went? Did the companies communicate clearly to the employees? Did they combine benefits packages, etc.?