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Tips on how to survive a merger

ignites europe, a Financial Times service | anna devine | 14 march 2017

Claire Logan, head of people and talent at PA Consulting Group is quoted in an article in Ignites Europe, a Financial Times title covering the European fund industry.

The article looks at how there could be uncertain times ahead for many fund managers in terms of job security, with an upcoming merger. Deals can typically lead to reductions in headcount and be stressful times for employees managing the integration of two company cultures.

Claire explains that the key to managing mergers is to “be nice”. She says that people want to work with people that they enjoy working with.

“There is a temptation not to demonstrate your most positive side in a merger situation]. Being willing to hold your opinion more lightly than usual will help if wanting to keep your job,” says Claire.

Claire goes on to say that relying on technical ability alone during a merger might not be the best bet, as over the longer term softer skills can sometimes carry more value. Figuring out “small things” like what language is used, how reports are carried out and understanding who the decision makers are will set employees apart, she says.

Claire explains that demonstrating the ability to “get things done” is also vital: “There are always jobs that need doing quite quickly during a merger, such as pulling information around the customer database. 

“If you can do something that is required effectively, you can show that you are someone who can get stuff done.”

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The article states that being emotionally resilient is another useful skill if wanting to keep a job or even progress during a merger.

Claire warns: “You have to be aware. People can almost smell nervousness or naked ambition. You don’t want that to come across in a merger.”

She explains that finding peers outside the workplace to talk through any anxiety or angst and other coping strategies is useful. 

The article goes on to say that mergers can be an opportunity for people to assess their future career trajectory elsewhere.

Claire says that there are a lot of “twists and turns” in a merger. “The main thing to understand is whether you want a job in the new place”.

She concludes that being flexible about what the next move might be will help with managing through the changes. “The bottom line is that you’ve got to create enough time to think about what the next job looks like.”

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