Today’s Healthcare Mergers Require Objective Talent Assessment

The autumn of 2015 created a lot of buzz in the healthcare industry – with mergers and acquisitions taking the headlines—both nationwide and in Georgia.

For example, in September 2015 – 


Then, in December 2015, we learned that September was just the opening salvo.

Now, seven months later, the respective organizations are trying to cross the merger finish lines by gaining regulatory agency approvals.  Upon approval, the “business end” of the deals will inevitably take place:  senior managers will streamline operations in order to create the cost savings and profitability that they originally envisioned.   As part of this restructuring, new organization charts will be needed.

Although the financial numbers get the initial press coverage, the more subtle ‘people issues’ will have an important impact on the new organization’s success.

How organizations handle the ‘who gets what role’ question will leave a long-lasting legacy that can either create a healthy/vibrant new culture or create bitterness that can poison the atmosphere and tarnish the reputation of the organization.  Most of these effects won’t make headlines, but they will directly impact the financial assumptions being made by senior leaders.

Organizational leaders (and employees) need to feel that the selection system (who gets what role) is fair and unbiased.  People inevitably look for ‘winners and losers’ in these mergers.  If one organization fills a majority of the open vacancies with ‘their’ people–it simply doesn’t look fair.  The appearance of neutrality and objectivity is CRITICAL to get employees to buy into the new culture.

The only FAIR way to determine ‘who gets what role’ is to have candidates ‘apply’ for jobs and undergo an objective assessment process in order to determine their suitability for the ‘new’ role/organization.  Absent such a systematic approach, the ‘who gets what role’ will be viewed as being politicized and thus unfair—particularly if an individual struggles in their new role.

Employee perceptions of bias/favoritism can ripple throughout the organization – resulting in lower morale, reduced employee commitment, increased turnover, lower productivity and an increase risk of unionization.  

Mergers create wonderful opportunities for the new organizations.  Smart organizations use this important time to systematically assign people to roles, ensuring that the anticipated financial benefits of the merger come to full fruition.