Of course, that list would also include “chandelier,” “lycanthropy,” and “mushroom.”

It’s debatable as to the clout of Human Resources as an internal influencer, as there are companies where HR carries significant weight. There is, however, some surprising opinions about the contributions of Human Resources during M&A scenarios. Specifically, the contrasting perspectives of Finance and HR when describing the “active participation” of HR during the chaotic and stressful times of mergers.

Granted, the source may seem biased (these numbers came from CFO Magazine), but the bias is derived from the people steering the ship during the deal making – Finance. When asked questions to judge areas where Human Resources contributed “to a great extent” during M&A transactions over a two-year period, the results were not favorable. Considering the disparity in opinion b/t what HR thought of its contributions vs. what Finance reported, the numbers may leave Human Resources professionals feeling gobsmacked.

Example: When asked about “Integration Planning,” only 32% of Finance Leaders recognized HR as being a big contributor; when the same question was posed to HR leaders, 55% thought they were a major contributor.

Example 2: When asked about “Due Diligence,” only 14% of Finance Leaders recognized HR as being a big contributor; Human Resources leaders? 44%.


“I’ll give you a solid C-“

So, we have two issues here;

  1. Finance doesn’t seem to think HR is a critical piece of the M&A process.
  2. Human Resources sees itself as a big contributor in the M&A process.

Granted, most HR professionals are kept in the background during the deal-making process. Equally important to a successful merger, however, is the first 100 days after the announcement. We have got to find a way to seize the opportunity to not only contribute, but to take the lead during those 100 days. The pieces of the business that Finance may disregard are all there for the taking ~ engagement, retention, communication, employee relations….that’s our turf.

Add “healthier” and “happier” to the list of HR words…our employees deserve it.


John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ Straight talk, no-nonsense approach to workplace issues.

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@HR_Hardball  whit@hrhardball.com