Pay close attention to the tone and “voice” of key communications to managers and staff during integration of employees from an acquired organization. Besides being welcoming in tone If it’s authored by an executive leader from the new “parent” organization, it’s best to avoid use of “us” and “you” in the wording. It should all be “we” and “us,” especially if the acquisition is official and complete. It should convey that everyone is part of the same organization now.

Depending on the announcement, some integration communications should be authored by a known, local leader (to demonstrate that they are fully subscribed to the change that has occurred). There should be a unified voice from all leaders. No “they will be doing this to us (or for us),” implicit or implied.

Also avoid multiple “welcome” messages from various functional sponsors/teams within the integration that are sent to all employees. There should be one official welcome, not separate welcomes from each HR or IT workstream.

You’ll want to sort out the branding used in communications in terms of logos in play during integration. Transition as soon as possible to a logo aligned with the new, larger (parent) organization – but be sensitive to that “letting go” period when there’s still attachment to the outgoing name and/or logo. In some cases, existing branding is retained for external marketing needs. In my work, the old and thenew name/logo have sometimes been included in early communications, with establishment of the new corporate organization branding when appropriate. The downside is that multiple logos can cause confusion.

Lastly, please, for the sake of the sanity of all, always spell out acronyms. Not doing this is the fastest way to frustrate and alienate both leaders and employees of the acquired organization. For our latest integration, we created a short roster of key acronyms and definitions and posted them on-line for reference.

This series of blog posts explains what worked well (or didn’t) during the integration of about 2,000 clinicians, support staff and affiliated physician, at a prestigious hospital that became a part of our 33 hospital, 5-state health care system.

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