News that HP is to buy UK search engine superstar Autonomy follows hard on the heels of Google’s proposed purchase of Motorola Mobility.
Mergers and acquisitions were thick on the ground in the IT boom and weren’t always sugar-coated for tech personnel. The worst scenario was to be bought by a certain systems integrator: tech staff were simply summoned to room and handed a ‘you’re fired’ slip.
It’s common for a successful and innovative UK tech company to be swallowed up by a more commercially successful outfit.
Whether you’re on the winning or losing side of the buyout, the following tactics should come in handy.
There’s no such thing as a merger – only a buyout - and there is always a winning and losing side.
Assess the situation candidly: if there is a big overlap of skills, rationalisation will inevitably follow and you should take steps to evaluate your own chances of survival.
Even if you are on the winning side – the purchasing company — do not be complacent as the event may be used to settle scores.
Ian Ryder, deputy CEO, BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT
Redo your CV
A merger or acquisition is a cue to update your CV. It’s helpful for you to rethink your proposition anyway so that you are prepared to communicate it to new management.
You may also want to upload your refreshed CV or send it to valued contacts. It may even be that the M&A may even provide some valuable experience of ‘change management’ that would be an asset to a new employer.
Don't align too strongly with one group
While an alliance may seen advantageous at first, new leadership will surround itself with a new team, sweeping aside existing coalitions. Bridging factions may be a more effective strategy for long-term success if you wish to stay in your current organisation for some time.
Louellen Essex, author of People Problems that Keep You Awake at Night
Learn the new rules
New power holders will shape new agendas. Continue to do your job and pay your dues but build a network with the new half of the company, too. Use your trusted network to explore and test out assumptions and suspicions without earning a reputation of being a gossip or excessive worrier.
Be an asset
Perceptions play a vital role in this, so keep talking to people, welcome new staff and take an interest in company activities. Do not hesitate to put forth your ideas and views. Be ready to take on additional responsibilities. Make sure current and potential managers know you’re willing to take on more tasks and even a role change, as per the evolving needs of the company.
Don’t go mad, get out clean
Plan your change rationally, before the situation becomes unbearable and you risk doing something rash. Keep your risk-evaluation antennae switched on and have a Plan B at the ready in any case, because no one knows what will happen next month. It always pays to be looking around at what jobs are on offer.
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