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10 Strategies for Healthcare M&A Success

Tami Hernandez, for HealthLeaders Media, December 13, 2010

Strategic communications planning should begin in the pre-close phase to carefully orchestrate the day one announcement in order to make a positive first impression and clearly establish the vision for the future. The first 100-day transition phase is an active period of change management that focuses on helping employees quickly let go of the past and start moving forward toward the future vision. The transition and integration phases require proactive communications to help employees understand their roles; effectively transition to new policies, systems and procedures; and move forward toward specific goals.

Ten Keys to M&A Success
There are ten fundamental communications best practices that companies and healthcare organizations can use to boost the success of their M&A transactions:

  1. Develop a Strategic M&A Communications Plan—A strategic M&A communications plan should be developed during the pre-close phase to detail the communications milestones, message strategy and delivery timelines for the primary stakeholder audiences. All communications must be carefully planned and timed to provide the right messages at the right time to manage operational change, reinforce the future vision and clearly articulate the value of the transaction.
  2. Appoint an M&A Communications Team—The M&A communications team will be responsible for the day one announcement orchestration and training the department-level managers to handle employee questions and concerns once the deal announcement is made. The team must be trained and equipped with communications tools.
  3. Choreograph the Day One Announcement—The day one announcement should be planned out hour-by-hour and tightly choreographed. The transaction should be announced to each stakeholder audience at a scheduled time using prepared presentations and handouts.
  4. Develop a Brand Integration Strategy—A brand integration strategy can help position the new combined organization to the marketplace in a manner that builds value.  When multiple brands (organizations) are combined, the brand strategy must be clear to avoid brand confusion. Brand integration decisions send definitive signals about the direction of the new combined organization to both internal and external audiences.
  5. Involve and Prepare The Executive Team—Department leaders will be on the front line after the announcement is made to answer questions and address concerns of employees and customers who turn to them for the “real story.” Be sure managers have the information they need to confidently communicate the direction of the organization to their direct reports by providing the appropriate communications training and tools.
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