Upskilling as a talent retention strategy during M&A and reorganization
To cultivate resilience, many organizations consider mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Whether you’re seeking to merge with or buy a new business –– or be acquired or reorganize strategically –– you should have the right technology and skilled employees to successfully navigate change.
M&A and workforce reorganization can create a wealth of opportunities for companies seeking rapid growth, transformation and market expansion. In fact, 47% of executives say pursuing corporate M&As, joint ventures and alliances is their top growth driver in 2022.
Unfortunately, nearly half of executives say talent acquisition and retention challenges are the biggest obstacle keeping them from achieving growth targets. Despite this hurdle, acquiring new capabilities, including tech processes and skilled talent, is a primary objective for one in four executives pursuing M&A. And the end result of such pursuits is an expanded population of talent that can drive the digital transformation of a newly unified company.
To realize the total value of the deal, you need to set employees up for immediate and future success. A digital upskilling program can provide an engaging and personalized experience during, and after, integration that brings them along for the journey. And the skills they acquire along the way help your company make the most of organizational changes.
Upskilling as a people-first talent strategy
Keep your employees at the center of the deal and continue investing in them –– and upskilling them –– during the process and beyond. After all, their specialized skills and brain power were probably a motivating factor for the deal. Integrated workforce loyalty isn’t a given. And retaining employees during integration can be difficult. Only 10% of executives reported significant success in retention during deals.
Managing, and retaining, a newly combined workforce starts with asking the right questions, including:
- Is our talent ready for the future-state of our organization?
- Do we have the right skills?
- What is our plan to retain existing talent and acquire new talent?
Upskilling programs can help you answer these questions and execute on a larger talent strategy across three key areas: alignment, assessment and analysis.
An educational program that focuses on a company’s key values, expectations and practices can guide and inform the actions of employees and help them feel like a unified team. By providing engaging training opportunities, you can help promote shared values.
An upskilling solution like ProEdge, a PwC product, can help create a cohesive culture and drive better alignment between merging organizations. ProEdge is a cloud-based platform designed to help companies identify and close skill gaps through personalized, function-specific experiential learning.
Many companies don’t have an inventory of their workers’ current skills, much less which skills they’ll need for their newly combined organization. For a recently merged or acquired company, there are likely a lot of blind spots in this area. You need an upskilling solution that can identify where your skill gaps are today, where they’re likely to be tomorrow and what you need to do to close those gaps.
ProEdge can help you conduct a skill gap analysis across your organization and gain insights you can leverage to develop forward-looking plans while taking into account the needs of the entire enterprise, including individuals, teams and functions.
In an M&A scenario, an upskilling program like ProEdge can also be used to uncover employees’ skills that weren’t utilized before, which could make it easier for those workers to find new positions in the organization. Additionally, employees who don’t have required skills could quickly upskill for new roles.
In a tight labor market like today’s Great Resignation era, change and ambiguity can cause employees to start looking elsewhere for jobs. That can put your business at risk of losing key talent before, during and after the course of the deal.
Develop retention strategies throughout the process and conduct ongoing analyses to discover:
- Whether or not people believed they would have upskilling opportunities
- Underlying reasons for talent loss (like perceived loss of status or external opportunities)
- Ways to prevent talent loss going forward
Embarking on this discovery mission and upskilling efforts can have big payoffs. A recent PwC CEO Panel Survey found that 93% of CEOs who introduce upskilling programs see increased talent acquisition and retention along with higher productivity and a more resilient workforce.
Future-proofing your organization
Higher engagement can help increase the likelihood of top talent retention. That’s especially true for businesses considering large-scale operational shifts like mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations.
When you’re operating with a people-first mindset, you cultivate loyalty. Engaging in proactive continuous communication can help people feel invested in and like they’re part of the journey. And this buy-in can foster stickiness as well as retain talent –– and the value of the deal.
A robust platform that takes the guesswork out of upskilling and automating at scale in the midst of M&As is especially valuable. With an upskilling platform like ProEdge, you can navigate change with confidence.