4 Steps to Integrate Teams during Mergers and Acquisitions

by Kayla Crum on Feb 1, 2024

colleagues working together

Company mergers and acquisitions can bring a hopeful energy to an otherwise stalled team. But leaders know that integrating two companies also brings complications. Two cultures must come together and meld their unique dynamics in order for a merger or acquisition to be a success.


The human relationships at stake during a large personnel shift are crucially important to the future success of the company, both for retention and profitability. If you’re currently facing a merger or acquisition, consider taking the following steps to minimize negative outcomes.

1. Assess current team dynamics

If you’re trying to mix two things together in pursuit of a shared goal, it’s important to know the components of each ingredient. Before you can decide on the end result, you have to know what you’re working with. For example, if you only have red and blue paint, a realistic goal is purple paint, but not green.


In other words, don’t just focus on the vision of a unified future company and hope for the best. Take the time today to honestly assess the current cultures of each company that is participating in the merger or acquisition. High-level leadership from each team should be able to describe current overarching values and standards of behavior.


Does one team prioritize urgency over granularity? How is feedback delivered in each setting? What communication norms are used? If any recent surveys have been done regarding employee satisfaction, pay attention to common themes. Is there any overlap between the two companies? What differences stand out?

2. Establish standards for behavior

Now that you’ve gathered important data on the two team dynamics, it’s time to set some standards around behavior. Ideally, leaders from both groups can take the best practices from each organization and craft an even better unified company culture.


If each group is made to experience some change, neither will feel like they’re simply being absorbed into the other. Leadership should make clear the new company values, expected methods of communication, and chains of command.


While setting aspirations, don’t forget the reality of human fallibility. It’s also key to establish guidelines upfront for what happens when standards of behavior are violated. This could take the form of a social contract or employee pledge that applies to everyone equally.

3. Create avenues for feedback and accountability

Once culture is assessed and a new behavioral standard is set, be sure to incorporate ongoing avenues for feedback from team members. Recent research suggests that almost three quarters of employees report increased efficacy at their job when they feel heard. But it’s not just about subjective experience; it also affects your bottom line – 88% of employees at financially successful companies feel heard compared to only 62% of employees at their financially underperforming counterparts.


Plan anonymous surveys, frequent one-on-ones or skip-levels, and company-wide townhalls. Lasting integration of two companies hinges on more than just the excitement of the first few weeks. Continued feedback and accountability goes a long way toward retention and profitability.

4. Anticipate bumps along the way

Even if you follow the above steps perfectly, you will undoubtedly encounter some difficulties related to the merger or acquisition. That’s the very nature of the task.


Rather than being stymied by issues that crop up along the way, accept the reality of some turbulence from the beginning. As leadership, be willing to adapt and respond to the feedback you receive from team members, even if it’s unexpected. Return again and again to the standards of behavior you established as a group.


At Teamalytics, we’ve worked with thousands of teams over three decades on issues such as merging two company cultures. If you want to learn more about how our scientifically-validated assessment tools can help you work through the four steps above in an effective, research-backed way, download our free guide “Know What it Feels like to Work with You: The Elusive Key to Effective Leadership and Team Assessment” today for more information.