Posted: 19 Mar. 2020 5 min. read

From jobs to superjobs: HR M&A edition

Posted by Tom JosephEd Alexander, and Kyle Forrest on March 19, 2020.

Our colleague Art Mazor previously shared ways to reimagine how work gets done to not only help make jobs more productive but more meaningful—changing them from jobs to superjobs. Art not only shared why this is happening but also discussed how organizations can reimagine work and compose superjobs.

If you’ve worked on an M&A transaction in the past decade, you’ve likely joined the team fresh from experiencing the latest in consumer or enterprise technology and then felt like you went through a time warp to working from spreadsheets, Word docs, and mail merges.

Fortunately for M&A professionals, there has been tremendous innovation on specific M&A use cases in the past few years. Whether you work in business and corporate development, procurement, IT, finance, or HR, there are now products and tools which can help you reimagine work and make the jump from job to superjob.

Today, we’re going to explore three specific examples that organizations can consider in advance of their next M&A transaction.

Project management

The typical job of a functional project manager remains the same—manage a project plan, track status, resolve issues and risks, and make decisions. What doesn’t have to remain the same is the amount of manual effort it takes to do those activities.

Instead of compiling updates and managing version control of a spreadsheet, project plan, weekly status document, or RAID log, project managers now have a wealth of tools at their hands that can deliver automated notifications to owners of action items; enable real-time collaboration on project plans, status reports, and RAID logs; and deliver more analytics in support of project status.

M&A professionals should explore the collaboration tools available within their enterprise software landscape as a starting point, or look into more advanced tools, such as M&A Central™ or other solutions.

Mapping, leveling, and organization design

One of the most labor-intensive activities in an M&A tends to be the mapping and leveling of acquired employees onto the buyer’s compensation hierarchy, then going through the organization design process to integrate the two organizations.

Manual data entry errors and version control issues can increase the stress level of professionals responsible for guiding the organization through a sensitive activity.

Taking advantage of natural language processing, machine learning, and data visualization, companies now have the opportunity to use tools such as CognitivePersonnel™, OrgVue, Saba Organizational Planning, and others to help minimize the risk of manual data entry and version control issues by loading data straight from your HR system of record into a tool that can help accelerate the mapping, leveling, and organization design process.

Employee onboarding

Another set of time- and labor-intensive M&A activities involve the end-to-end employee onboarding process, starting with the deal being announced through legal close and subsequent integration.

Traditionally, the M&A team responsible for onboarding and change management creates multiple communications to the acquired manager and employee group about all of the various changes which will occur via integration, then follows up and makes sure activities are accomplished by the correct date, such as signing offer letters.

While M&A teams in recent years have been able to take advantage of tools like DocuSign or AdobeSign, for example, to track the offer letter completion rate and support e-signing, newer tools can deliver a single employee portal that can serve as both a communications channel and a dynamic onboarding checklist, all adaptable to deliver a curated experience based on different employee types or geographies.

Culture, employee experience, and change management

The final areas to explore today are culture, employee experience, and change management—elements of a transaction which have long been known to be critical in the success or failure of an organization achieving deal value.

Previously, much of this work was done via “hunches” or “hypotheses” based on publicly available information or findings via interviews or focus groups.

Now there are tools like ChangeScout™, which can use data to track targeted change actions across a defined set of stakeholder groups; CulturePath™, which delivers quantitative insights into the cultural differences between organizations; and Adaptable Organization Network Analysis tools, which my colleagues recently explored and which can help provide insight into the real networks and communities within an organization delivered as input into the culture, change management, and retention strategies.

Making the move from jobs to superjobs

Whether you are in the beginning, middle, or end of a deal, it is never too late to begin to explore how your organization can take advantage of the cognitive tools and capabilities in the market that are designed to help M&A professionals looking to make the leap from job to superjob.


Tom Joseph is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and has more than 19 years of M&A consulting experience. He works closely to plan integration strategies, plan for an issue-free day one, manage enterprise-wide organization readiness, and design the cross-functional integration program.

Ed Alexander is a managing director in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital M&A practice. He has more than 15 years of consulting experience focused on human capital M&A, HR operations, changes management, and employee benefits. He has successfully led HR M&A activities at organizations with 200 to 100,000 employees. Ed focuses on HR M&A strategy, detailed functional day-one planning, HR technology, and change management strategies.

Kyle Forrest is a senior manager with Deloitte Consulting LLP and has more than 11 years of HR and M&A consulting experience. He works across the M&A deal life cycle, collaborating with clients on integration and divestiture strategy and execution and helping HR organizations prepare for and scale for growth. 

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