Does M&A Bring Welcoming Surprises?
This past week we hosted our pre-summer HRoundtable and were fortunate to have Gina Codd, VP of Global Talent Management & Development, Edwards Lifesciences, and Mark Oshima, Managing Partner of Aon’s Strategic Advisory Practice facilitate this session.
Our HRoundtable is comprised of senior leaders in HR and meets quarterly to discuss forward looking topics and insights into relevant current challenges. The goal is to learn from each other and think outside the box. Gina and Mark did just that with a deep dive conversation into the world of M&A. They were a fabulous duo looking at the work of due diligence and integrating companies, culture and people.
Mark has extensive global experience with fascinating companies and provided the overview and the structure of a “perfect deal”. He discussed the major phases of “doing the deal” and “making the deal work” as well as why deals fail and the criteria that drives a deal to success. There are a range of integration strategies based on the type of transaction and Mark shared insights on how the areas of Behaviors, Beliefs and Decisions intersect and ultimately shape culture.
Gina has experience at the ground level with leading HR M&A efforts throughout her career. Both Gina and Mark confirmed that while every deal is different, the value is in the learnings from repeatability and looking for patterns and trends. Gina shared various dynamics and situations where a mentality of “welcoming surprises” and thinking like an air traffic controller is necessary to be agile through initial due diligence through integration.
What is HR’s role in the M&A process? Both Mark and Gina talked about the critical role HR plays from the very beginning. HR often enters at the integration stage but Gina shared what happens in the early stages of due diligence when companies are initially being evaluated and the initial requests for information are made. Both Mark and Gina discussed how aspects of business acumen, critical thinking, adaptive capability, judgment and understanding cultural and strategic insight are all roles HR plays in Merger and Acquisition activity. It dawned on me the Mergers and Acquisitions are an excellent opportunity for those in HR to get close to the business.
I have been known when asked about HR career opportunities, to advise professionals to step out of HR into the business functions. If M&A, business strategy and being the best HR Business Partner is a goal, then there could be nothing better than rotating out of HR to the business to gain this perspective. In Ram Charan’s book, Talent Wins, there is a great chapter on “The New HR Career Path” that highlights specific case studies showing the power or rotations like this. It is a two way street – for business leaders can rotate into HR for a talent immersion experience and HR moves out to the business to learn about adding value as well. Want to add value to your business? Consider this as a possibility to differentiate yourself and contribute at a higher level. Although Gina is contributing her expertise from HR, she is clearly a key participant in a complex, multi-dimensional challenge with colleagues from diverse functions in order to help guide the company in its strategic business decisions. Although Mark is a seasoned consultant in M&A he is extremely tuned in the importance culture and people play in the success of a deal. The HRoundtable and I thank you both, Mark and Gina for sharing your wisdom in a fascinating interactive discussion which inspired us to think big.
If you are interested in learning more about joining the HRoundtable – please call Sherry at 562-594-6426 or firstname.lastname@example.org