“We have met the enemy, and they are us.” – Walt Kelly, Pogo

We talk a lot about merger integration on this site, specifically addressing the role…nay, the RESPONSIBILITY of Human Resources to take the lead role in the assimilation of “new” employees during the M&A process.

But not all deals are created equal, right? The type of deal makes a difference to the people involved, ergo, it makes a difference to you as the strategic HR professional you most certainly are.

What if you’re on the buyer side? What if you’re a merger of equals (at least that’s what they say it is)? How about a wholly-owned subsidiary? Divestiture? Trophy company? Each has its own employee dynamic, each touches a different number on the DEFCON scale, but they all offer an opportunity for Human Resources to make a play for strategic influence.

Look at the first example above (buyer). As the announced “winner” of the deal, you can be sure that the large portion of the freak-out factor rests in the hearts and minds of the acquired company. At first blush, it appears the heavy people-lifting will strictly be the concern of the acquired HR department (wait for it, you know there’s a “but” involved here…)

But (and, there it is) – is your own house in order? When was the last Formal Talent Assessment and/or Succession Planning meeting conducted? I don’t care how wonderful your company is, there are talent upgrades to be had & you find yourself with a motivated, receptive hiring pool eager to find a place in the new organization.

If you’ve been in HR long enough, you know exactly who the dead-weight is in your company. People who’s main contribution is “presenteeism” – here’s your chance to make a positive outcome using redundancy as the catalyst. You need to act quickly to identify the key players on the other team (as noted here) and show them some love. Know the mindset of your audience and react accordingly – the most talented people have options and will immediately begin to explore said options if left to wallow in uncertainty.

Here’s your chance to own the precious task of upgrading the talent in your new organization. TAKE IT.

Reach out to your new HR colleagues, help them with the daunting task ahead and position yourself as a pathway to a new career for the best and brightest.