I’ve had a couple of conversations over the last few weeks with people who have been working for companies that have been taken over. Not surprisingly they have found themselves moving from a smaller company to a larger one. They haven’t liked the experience.
Undoubtedly companies buy others for a reason and not just for the good of their health. They see something in the other company that they lack or something that would add to the buying business. They are looking for growth, cost savings or synergy, perhaps all three.
When taking over the company the buyers go out of their way to ensure the employers of the bought business that things will carry on as normal, everything will be fine and they should keep doing as they do.
None of this is true. Unless the businesses are run as totally separate entities, which is rare, the culture of the new parent will seep into that of the child. The culture of the original organisation changes. New policies, procedures and practises are imposed upon the purchase, either by a slow drip drip or by some sort of big bang. Those who were part of a small team become part of a bigger team. Those who were fairly senior can become more junior. Those who have a high degree of autonomy can suddenly find themselves restricted and constrained.
All this means that the old organisation is no longer and some of the people realise that it is not the business that they joined. What excited them in the first place has gone.
Not everyone wants to work in a big operation. Not everyone wants to be corporate and this means that in a takeover or a merger there are going to be casualties on the way.
This is where my colleagues are. They haven’t left yet, indeed I’m not sure they are even looking but it seems inevitable that at some time they will and that they will move to a smaller business.