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Management article
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Reference no. R0910P
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review", 2009
Length: 8 pages

Abstract

The mergers that thrive post-recession will be those that focus not just on the numbers but on integrating and motivating employees. To extract lessons on how to manage the human side of M&A, Harvard Business School''s Kanter studied a dozen deals that overcame the usual barriers to success: employee shock, protests, and anxiety, all of which can fuel supplier unrest, government disapproval, and customer defections. Procter & Gamble, for instance, faced the prospect of ''blood on the floor'' in its ranks when it bought Gillette, because headhunters went after Gillette managers. Yet P&G managed to retain a large percentage of them, and it enlisted employees in keeping suppliers, distributors, and customers happy. The company met cost and revenue targets within the first year, incorporated Gillette''s superior go-to-market processes, and continued to position itself for growth even as the current recession loomed. Kanter highlights the key strategies behind effective integration by describing practices at P&G and two other companies: CEMEX, which needed to transfer know-how to acquired employees so they could absorb its processes quickly and meet global standards, and Publicis Groupe, which treated its mergers like reverse takeovers, allowing acquired talent to take the lead in building new capabilities.

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Abstract

The mergers that thrive post-recession will be those that focus not just on the numbers but on integrating and motivating employees. To extract lessons on how to manage the human side of M&A, Harvard Business School''s Kanter studied a dozen deals that overcame the usual barriers to success: employee shock, protests, and anxiety, all of which can fuel supplier unrest, government disapproval, and customer defections. Procter & Gamble, for instance, faced the prospect of ''blood on the floor'' in its ranks when it bought Gillette, because headhunters went after Gillette managers. Yet P&G managed to retain a large percentage of them, and it enlisted employees in keeping suppliers, distributors, and customers happy. The company met cost and revenue targets within the first year, incorporated Gillette''s superior go-to-market processes, and continued to position itself for growth even as the current recession loomed. Kanter highlights the key strategies behind effective integration by describing practices at P&G and two other companies: CEMEX, which needed to transfer know-how to acquired employees so they could absorb its processes quickly and meet global standards, and Publicis Groupe, which treated its mergers like reverse takeovers, allowing acquired talent to take the lead in building new capabilities.

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