'It's important to show your worth': How to survive a merger at work


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Following the announcement that QSuper and Sunsuper will merge and create the largest fund in Australia, there may well be trepidation around consolidation.

One of the reasons to merge is to find efficiencies that come with scale, but that can mean job losses and restructuring.

We asked some recruiters what people should do first (aside from updating their CV) when they learn their company is facing a merger or acquisition.

what to do if your company is facing a merger

Don't panic

The first response that came back from everyone we talked with was to keep a level head and not act rashly. In many cases, there are contingencies in place to retain staff for a set period of time, so you won't necessarily be out of a job right away - or ever.

Fabian Ruggieri, the director of RIVA Recruitment, says that having a positive mindset is important from both the perspective of the management and staff.

"Communication internally and externally about how the merger or acquisition is a positive for the business will assist in ensuring the acquiring company sees you, as a staffer, are the person you want to retain."

Change is coming

Regardless of what happens with the merger or acquisition, things will change. They may be small, cultural shifts, however, there will be differences.

Building off his point about staying positive, Ruggieri says this is a good chance for you to build relationships with key decision-makers in the acquiring company.

"It's important to show your worth to the new company. This will help to ensure you are not seen as just another number."

Richard Norey, the managing director of Lighthouse Search and Selection, agrees.

"When approaching your internal options, try and have an open and honest conversation with your line manager, who may be in the dark as much as you regarding the impending change.

"Put across your eagerness and openness to welcoming new opportunities and positions."

Matt McGilton, the managing director of Kaizen Recruitment, says that this is a good chance to refresh and reinvigorate your network - including chatting with your favourite recruiter.

"Over 50% of all Kaizen's placements are with candidates we know and almost 50% of all jobs are never advertised. As always, it is about your reputation and who you know.

"In my opinion, you should never stop staying connected to your market and network, both external and internal."

Give yourself options

Sometimes, when a change comes, it's time to move on. It might be your choice, to look for something new, or it might be out of your hands. It's essential that you keep your options open.

One way to do that, says Ruggieri, is to update your LinkedIn profile to help promote your personal brand.

"Be active on LinkedIn so people are more aware of you and what you stand for."

Likewise, Norey says that this is the chance to consider something new.

"Putting your hat in the ring for new roles within the new company may allow you to broaden your horizons around opportunities you hadn't considered prior.

"Change is constant in the corporate landscape and isn't relenting anytime soon; adapt with it to give yourself options."

Kaizen's McGilton says that a lot of professionals wait until after they need a new opportunity to get their house in order. A bit of prep work, he says, can help you make a move more quickly.

"You need to anticipate and prepare for change; don't wait. Unless, of course, you are positioning for a redundancy pay-out (plenty do)."

Top five things to do right now

Regardless of your status, the assembled experts agree that there are a few things you can do right now to put yourself in a better position to make a move before the need should arise.

  • Cultivate your online brand by updating your LinkedIn
  • Review the types of positions and companies you would like to work for
  • Update your network to ensure you have a good list of connections
  • Consider yourself a product and determine your key value proposition and selling point
  • Be direct: consider who you want to work for and why.

This article first appeared on Industry Moves

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Justin Cleveland was the managing editor, from October 2019 to August 2021, of IndustryMoves.com, a Rainmaker Group trade publication covering executive movements and career development advice for the financial services, banking, and wealth management industries. He holds a master's degree in communication arts and sciences from the Pennsylvania State University.