M&A Science Podcast
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Positive Employee Experience is Key to Successful M&A

This is an interview that we had during our M&A virtual summit. Hosted by Jill Harrison, VP of Silverline venture, this interview is all about positive employee experience and how it impacts the success of M&A deals. Joining this discussion are our 3 speakers:

  •  Cole Breidenbach- Head of M&A Integration at Okta
  • Josh Olson- Head of solution sales at the Americas at VMware
  • Amy Gannaway- Vice President, Global Compensation, Benefits and HRIS at VMware
  • Jill Harrison - VP of Silverline Ventures
“The powerful combination of technology and then leading with trust and inclusion. That together is where all the magic happens and where true value is created.” - Amy Gannaway

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Amy Gannaway

Amy Gannaway is the VP of Global Compensation, Benefits and HRIS at VMWare. Amy is an experienced IT and HR leader w/ a solid track record of successful application implementations including budget, project, and vendor management. Management style focuses on team mentoring, job rotation, and skill development. Key competencies include negotiation / influencing skills, project and ROI proposal development, and cross-functional partnership.

Cole Breidenbach

Cole Breidenbach is the Pre and Post-Sales GTM and M&A Integration.

Josh Olson

Josh Olson is the  Head of Experience Solutions Sales - Americas at VMWare. He helps business executives realize meaningful business transformation in Customer and Employee Experience to achieve their Reason for Being. Josh focuses his  time on strategic growth in high-value accounts through building executive level relationships and understanding their strategic, high-value initiatives

Jill Harrison

She discovered Salesforce in 2005 and fell in love with the platform while at a fast-growing education technology start-up. After six years as an admin and new team builder, she decided to make the jump into the consulting world and help others and for the last 10 years, she helped build the amazing team at Silverline. They're focused on making sure that thier clients are successful, their colleagues are empowered, and their community is supported through the philanthropic work they do as part of Pledge 1%.

Episode Transcript

Setting the Tone for Trust

To lead with trust, transparency is key. Be very transparent in the early stages about why you’re doing the deal, how you plan on onboarding people and what they should be expecting. 

Be transparent about what will happen with the people’s pay and their benefits, because if you can’t assure them what’s going to happen, they will become disengaged. Show them how you treat employees, how you care for them and that clams everyone’s nerves.

Don’t Rock the Boat

Show a little empathy. Understand that the people in the target company are undergoing a lot of changes. You don’t want to force your collaboration tools on them on day one. Let them be more effective using their own tools and consolidate your own collaboration tools later on. 

Human interaction

Don’t forget the importance of human interaction. Have 1on1 meetings as much as you can. Get to know the person and understand what their challenges are and their perceptions.

Making a connection with an internal leader, you could extend that trust to their entire team because the leader will vouch for you. The leader can share the message that they’re being heard.

A Thoughtful Onboarding Process

To get people connected to the mission of your organization, you need a thoughtful onboarding process. 

Be inclusive in your approach and talk about what are the programs and the timelines that are important to your company; whether its HR things, product team or sales team, talk about the purpose of everything. 

Don't just force one way of doing it. Give the acquired leadership and team a platform to tell their stories. Let them tell their values and what matters to them. 

“You can use the tech for good or for evil.” - Josh Olson 

Use technology to help, assist, and better the lives of your employees. Don’t use it to spy on them.

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