Mergers. Acquisitions. Both occurrences mean change. While things have slowed up lately because of global inflation, the 2021 U.S. mergers and acquisitions market was unprecedented. A record $2.9 trillion in transactions happened, accounting for more than half of all global deals.
Factor in the confidential nature of merger and acquisition activities, and employees below management level are typically the last to know, the least prepared to cope with change, and the most impacted by it.
But change, when well-managed, doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom if leaders at all levels are quickly rallied to shepherd colleagues through transformational times. Everyone needs to know—and start embracing—the behaviors that make a positive impact.
For tips about managing workplace change, we went straight to some of our internal experts, the UKG1 Champions Award recipients. These are U Krewers who are making significant contributions as members of process integration teams formed as a result of the 2020 Ultimate Software and Kronos merger.
Seven tips to help employees (and you) stay motivated through change
1. Embrace a team mindset.
|Louis Derby, Manager, Business Process Analysis |
It’s important to be open-minded and understanding with everyone. Be respectful of others’ thoughts and opinions, and value what they bring to the table. From the top down, the UKG mindset is “we are better together” and anything less isn’t accepted. I use that approach in day-to-day conversations about difficult topics and have found that it turns “us and them” into “we.”
|Paul Ducharme, Senior Director, Customer Success Operations |
When you’re in a position with knowledge, expertise, or leadership in an area of change, don’t wait to speak up. Be bold; take that step forward. It’s scary, it’s hard, and it’s challenging, but what you get in return is so rewarding. You won’t regret working toward common goals with people who have a similar drive and passion as you. You’ll expand your own knowledge, expertise, and leadership and that may lead to more opportunities for other transformative initiatives.
|Rachel Roy, Principal Financial Systems Consultant |
In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey explains the concept of a paradigm shift. This is the aha moment that alters your perspective. Instead of, “We always did it this way,” we must change our mindset to, “What is the best way going forward?” Many people think learning something new is hard and scary, but we must realize that people learn differently. Some are visual, others prefer detailed explanations. By recognizing this and taking it into consideration, we can help everyone become more engaged in learning, which leads to more contributions, and ultimately develops more positive attitudes toward the change. The more people are involved in what’s changing, the more likely they will be to embrace it. I’ve found that thriving in the workplace has a lot to do with the strength of the relationships we have with teammates, which ultimately involves understanding what is important to them and respecting their point of view.
|Jennifer Rea, Senior Manager, Salesforce Enablement and UX |
Stress makes it easy to get emotionally tired, which then makes you physically tired. Getting exercise and doing something fun helps me. I often find I’m most creative while doing something else. For example, while in Aruba on vacation, I thought about a project and sent an idea to the lead who adopted it. Taking care of myself also includes embracing quiet time. I read 65 books during the first year of the pandemic!
|Marcia Corbett, Lead Business Process Consultant |
Stay motivated by celebrating small milestones. It’s overwhelming to look at the whole picture, so stay focused on one thing at a time. My team made forward strides by understanding current processes and future direction, and then imagining and creating how we will do things tomorrow with our business partners.
|Carlos Aguilar, Senior Principal Business Systems Analyst |
The collaboration amongst our team has been amazing. We’re constantly throwing out ideas, talking through pros and cons, answering questions, and working through obstacles. In doing so, our team is building passion about what we’re doing without even realizing it. We’re also forming deep, meaningful relationships as we work together on challenging and complex initiatives, which will live on long after we deliver our solution.
|Barbie Espinosa, VP, Sales Operations & Analytics |
I knew being on a process integration team was a one-of-a-kind opportunity and that the end result would really matter to the company. I was grateful for an experience where I could look back and say, “It was all worth it.” This has been the most challenging yet rewarding experience.
|Chad Brack, Senior Principal Program Manager, IT |
Each day presents a unique set of hurdles and opportunities. I learn something new about our business and technologies on a near-hourly basis, and I have so much more to learn. My team and business stakeholders impress the heck out of me, which motivates me to deliver as much value as I possibly can.
|Susan Paugh, Senior Director, Business Data Analysis |
Change is hard but it brings opportunities for growth. For me, change has been a constant over the past few years as my adult children spread their wings, as I’ve cared for and lost a parent, and as I've found my path in a newly formed company. Through it all, I try to maintain a sense of humor. If we can embrace change and look at the lighter side of things, it makes everyone breathe a little easier, think a bit clearer, and put things into their proper perspective.