When mergers and acquisitions are months, even years in the planning, organizations have time to communicate the impact of the change to all employees. Often, however, the change happens fast, leaving little room for creating a communications plan.
But high-impact communication is necessary, and typical avenues such as email newsletters and all-hands meetings might not draw the attention of a workforce that needs extra reassurance and knowledge about the new entity. Such cases require a more compelling presentation format, which is where streaming video can make a difference. Read on to learn more about why your post acquisition and merger integration plans need to incorporate video, while also learning how the company AngioDynamics succeeds with this approach. If you are looking for advice on executing an internal video strategy for this, be sure to watch our archived webinar on Video Best Practices for Your Internal Communication Strategy.
The benefits of video for mergers and acquisitions
“Employees shouldn’t feel as though leaders are hiding out,” says Alison Davis, CEO and founder of communications firm Davis & Company. Streaming video allows company leadership visibility at a time when it’s most needed. Keeping employees informed keeps everyone calm, even if all the ramifications of the transition aren’t yet known.
One method to achieve this is through regular town halls. These should be done to share the vision behind the merger or acquisition as told by top management. In addition, this gives employees an oppurtinity to directly engage with the top management to ask important questions. Video can also work to start to train and educate on any changing practices. For example, if each company does expensing differently, efforts should be made to train on a unified approach to make everyone feel supported and on the same page.
Organizations can also take advantage of interactivity built into streaming video, inviting participants to take part in an online chat or poll. And, once the initial presentation is broadcasted, company leadership must ensure that the conversation can continue. One of Davis’s clients schedules global town halls for major announcements so every employee can listen in. Afterwards, executives are on-hand for a Q&A session at different offices focused on the unique concerns of local employees.
“That’s a good combination of high-tech and high-touch,” Davis says.
AngioDynamics reaches new employees around the globe
AngioDynamics lacked sophisticated broadcasting tools when they acquired a small medical device company based in Latham, N.Y. According to the company’s multimedia specialist, Dan Hamilton, their communication medium was “very amateur,” and failed to attract high viewership given the awkward presentation. With 1,300 new employees to reach — the company almost doubled in size after the acquisition— scattered across the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, AngioDynamics needed to upgrade.
“We had to represent ourselves with a better platform – something that made us look more mature as a company,” Hamilton says. Their new live video technology ensures that when executives communicate to the entire company, they’re using HD cameras and video, along with high-quality audio feeds. The stream quality matches the native video, so the meeting comes in as clear to the employees watching remotely as those who are in the room.
“When we did our first webcast with the new technology, we more than tripled our normal viewership,” Hamilton says.
The essential elements that make streaming video the best option for AngioDynamics, and any other companies going through a major change, include:
- Security. The video solution offers corporate directory integrations with single sign-on.
- Mobility. Employees will listen to corporate messages if they don’t have to change their work habits to do so. The stream is viewable on mobile devices or without the use of complex VPNs.
- Robust content delivery network (CDN): An enterprise CDN can scale video to new users without a loss of quality, and eliminate bottlenecks that come with using multiple corporate connections.
- Tracking: Viewer tracking can tell who’s getting the message and who isn’t.
Learn more about AngioDynamics and how they utilize IBM’s enterprise video streaming to engage their growing employee base in this customer story.
Even after the big announcement, companies should keep lines of communication open and opportunities for communication and transparency frequent. Continuing with regular town halls, for example, can give teams an opportunity to stay apprised of changes and to work through challenges posed by the transition period.
Moreover, the power in streaming video—it’s interactivity and more personal feel—will help companies foster a sense of unity and shared goals moving forward from a major event like an acquisition. Think about what other activities can be broadcast via video, such as internal trainings or employee events. Inviting everyone to join on video makes for a more exciting atmosphere and more engaged participants. The event can be recorded and watched on-demand for those who can’t make it or remote workers in conflicting time zones—though one IBM Watson Media partner says many of their employees actually turn up outside of normal hours to be part of the live event.
Not doing internal streaming right now? Curious how others in the industry are using it, not just for easing acquisitions but what areas executives see as important? For example, 36% of executives see the ability to re-use training content as one of the two most important justifications for investing in on-demand video, while 32% want their message to reach more employees as one of the most important justifications. For more stats like this, and to learn how executives are prioritizing internal video solutions, read this Five Building Blocks for Enterprise Streaming Success white paper.