Creating a Post-Merger Integration Checklist (Plus a Sample)

October 02, 2018 by Josh Hrala

A document with a star on it.
Request Pricing

Compare our rates to other providers

Mergers and acquisitions are extremely stressful for HR because the department must perform a ton of tasks to make sure the business move goes over without a hitch. This is where a post-merger integration checklist can seriously come in handy.

Not only does a post-merger integration checklist give you a general idea of what you need to accomplish before you need to accomplish it, it also helps keep you on track during the process itself.

It is said that most mergers or acquisitions fail to meet their business goals because of a clash of cultures. So, if you want to give the move it’s best chance for success, HR has a lot of work to do to integrate teams. But where should you start?

That’s what we’ll cover today in this blog. These are the top items that need to be incorporated into your post-merger integration checklist, though it should be noted that your organization may have more or less items on its list. You can use this sample as a starting point, customizing it before taking action.

Download our sample Post-Merger Integration Checklist.

What Is a Post-Merger Integration Checklist?

A post-merger integration checklist is a document that you can keep on file during a merger or acquisition that details all of the steps you need to take to ensure that you integrate the two teams in the best way possible.

By integrating both teams and creating a new, stronger one, your business will hopefully receive a boost. On the other hand, like we mentioned above, failing to integrate teams properly is a big reason why these sorts of business moves fall short of their goals.

Given that the stakes are rather high, it makes sense to have what you need written down in advance so you can use it when you need it. Proper planning goes a long way in situations like this so don’t try to skip it.

Post-Merger Integration Checklist

What Should You Include In Your Post-Merger Integration Checklist?

Let’s move right into the core of this article: what you actually need to have on your post-merger integration checklist.

The best way to think about creating your checklist is to break it down into sections, which is what we’ll do here so it’s easier to think about.

The first part of the checklist is all about hiring processes with the first item on the list to develop a new hiring process for both the short term (for immediate needs) and the long term (for overall strategy).

You also need to note to prepare for these new hires by creating documents such as, onboarding documentation, benefits overviews, and new-hire packets. Remember, the name of the game here is to ensure that those joining your team will be ready and able to perform their jobs without a bunch of friction.

You’ll also need to develop compensation packages and benefits plans if they are changing during the merger or acquisition.

This section can look something like this:

  • Develop a new hiring process
    • Short term for immediate needs
    • Long term overall strategy
  • Prepare for new hires
    • Onboarding documentation
    • Benefits overview packets
    • New hire packets
    • Create a plan for onboarding union workers (reach out to unions)

Post-Merger Integration Checklist: Part Two, Redundancies

It’s a sad fact, mergers and acquisitions cause a ton of redundancies. It’s just the nature of the move. You have to be able to clearly identity which departments have these redundancies and develop a clear system to start offboarding them or moving them to different roles.

So, the first step in this section is to make sure that you have a process in place that can handle a large amount of turnover. Not only will you – most likely – have to lay some people off, others may leave on their own accord because they don’t want to deal with all of the stress and changes.

In this process, you also need a way to entice your top performers to stay. A merger or acquisition event is like chum in the water for talent poachers. Always make sure that you top performers know that they are valued and have a place inside the new organization.

This section of the post-merger integration checklist can look something like this:

  • Identify and make a plan to eliminate redundancies
    • Prepare severance documents
    • File WARN Act notice if needed

We will not go into everything you need to consider during a layoff or RIF here because we have covered those topics extensively in the past. You can read more about those situations here and here. Also, you can download our layoff guides here:

layoff form Download Our Guide To Improving Severance Agreements!

Post-Merger Integration Checklist: Part Three, Org Charts and IT

While the people-focused items on the list are all no-brainers, you need to also help keep everything running on an organizational level.

For example, your IT team will likely have to onboard a ton of people into the different systems that your business uses, such as creating new email accounts, giving proper security access, and things of that nature.

You will have to work closely with the IT team to make sure this all goes well because it can directly impact a worker’s ability to perform their role.

Post-Merger Integration Checklist

At the same time, you need to keep the org chart updated with new hires so that people can understand the chain of command at the organization, helping keep things from becoming too confusing.

This is a simple section, but it’s very important if you want the merger or acquisition to go well. It can look, simply, like this:

  • Develop new org chart
  • Partner with key IT stakeholders to create a process and timeline for merging HR systems (and others that need to be added for employees)

Post-Merger Integration Checklist: Part Four, Performance and Communication

Again, one of the most important tasks HR has is to make sure that the integration is running smoothly. And for this to work out, you need to have clear performance goals on the books so that the teams understand their responsibilities, who their manager is, and what is expected of them.

This will seriously help your team get back to working at full capacity.

The first thing you need to come up with is a review process. This could be using KPIs or other performance metrics – it largely depends on how your business operates.

For new hires or people in new roles, you’ll also need to have a proper plan to train and develop them so that they can completely perform their new roles. Without training, how are people supposed to meet their goals and deadlines? Again, this is something that is specific to your organization and you will have to meet with teams and leaders to understand what needs to be done.

Post-Merger Integration Checklist

Finally, you need to make sure you have a way to communicate to your staff members in a way that they will notice. Create a proper communicate pipeline so that you can quickly get the word out about HR changes and things of that nature.

Poor communication is a giant problem when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, attributing largely to the failure rate of the business move. By communicating efficiently with your staff and keeping them in the loop, you will likely retain those you need to retain without a bunch of headaches. No one likes being kept in the dark.

This section of the post-merger integration checklist can look something like this:

  • Create a performance review system
  • Create a training and development plan
  • Develop a communication plan for communicating all HR policy changes to employees and stakeholders

Post-Merger Integration Checklist: The Key Takeaways

This sample post-merger integration checklist has a lot of the high-level, key items on it that almost every organization will need to consider when merging teams together. However, you will need to adapt the sample to the needs of your organization because these lists are never one-size-fits-all.

Also, make sure you work closely with your teams to understand their needs. A merger or acquisition is hard on everyone, but no one has to go it alone. Have an open communication plan to keep things flowing between departments and lean on each other to make sure the move is successful.

Want to download our post-merger acquisition checklist? Click below:

Download our sample Post-Merger Integration Checklist.

Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

In need of outplacement assistance?

At Careerminds, we care about people first. That’s why we offer personalized talent management solutions for every level at lower costs, globally.

Speak with an Expert

Log In Contact Us