No industry is immune to mergers and acquisitions, not even Logistics. In December 2022, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) acquired Bolloré Africa Logistics SAS and its affiliates. MSC wanted to further penetrate Africa’s supply chain, but despite its good intentions, a normal and expectable outcome will inevitably ensue: job loss. MSC will most likely trim redundant roles within operations and aim for efficiency just like any other company does in an acquisition.

Even though uncertain times may be ahead for those at both MSC and Bollore, if you find yourself in a similar situation, there are eight things you can do to “survive” a merger or acquisition.

1. Assume the Worst

Even though it may be stressful at first, assume the worst: you might lose your job. This doesn’t mean you will, but it will allow you to prepare for a safer landing if you do happen to lose your job. Be proactive and update your Linkedin profile and your resume. Also, network with people in your current industry and maybe one you’ve always thought about breaking into (ex: Logistics and Technology).

Some of you have not looked for a job in over four years (which was probably a good thing), but things have changed! Do your best to get acclimated to the new hiring environment. You don’t have to go applying to hundreds of jobs yet, but having a good backup plan keeps you calm in moments of crisis.

2. Research the Other Company

Mergers and acquisitions don’t happen overnight. This means you will have time to research the “other” company. When a merger or acquisition happens, the technologies, strategies, and processes that are better will dominate. If your company isn’t the winner in those categories, you are going to have to make some changes in the near future. It will be up to you to learn as much as you can about the other company so that you have a fighting chance of staying.

See what CRM’s or ATS’s they use, check if they are a Google or Microsoft company, and see if they are laid back or more formal than your current employer.  You’d be surprised how much information is available on the Internet and is publicly covered as a company is acquired.

3. Accept Reality

Once the two companies merge, all bets are off. The reputation you’ve built, the goodwill you’ve garnered with higher-ups, and the promises of bonuses/pay raises/benefits will now all be in question.  The worst thing you can do is complain about all the groundwork you’ve laid that’s now about to be bulldozed over.

Complaining is the best way to get a target put on your back by the new regime as you will now be seen as “old order.” Do your best to blend in and even throw in those new buzzwords that the new regime likes to bond with them.

4. Understand and Present Your Value

Whenever a new order comes in, they want to increase efficiencies from top to bottom. You have an increased chance of keeping your job if you can succinctly explain your job duties as well as your value to the company. Have metrics in your back pocket that you can present should you ever be called on to justify your role.

5. Don’t Hide

Reach out to new members in other departments. Suggest how you can be helpful to the new hires and share your expertise with others in a helpful way (not in a braggadocious way). Be self-confident as you’ve obviously made it this far for a reason. Don’t hide, otherwise, you may be seen as someone who doesn’t fit in well with the new culture that’s being built.

6.  Watch out for Severance

Severance, the extended pay/benefits given to employees who are let go from a company, is a possibility for those who are victims of the merger and acquisition. What companies might do is try to encourage you to quit on your own, which can reduce overall severance costs to the company. Keep an eye out for this strategy!

This can look like a lessening of your workload, establishing impossible quotas, excluding you from communication channels, and even public humiliation for mistakes. There’s no “right” answer to staying or quitting when these things happen to you as you must consider your overall financial position in life and whether resigning is in your best interest or not. Just know that being “fired” versus being a part of a wide-scale layoff is looked at differently by potential employers.

7. Read Up On Any Legal Paperwork

For some of you, your choice of “should I stay or should I go” may already be pre-determined based on what you signed on your first day with the company. Even if you know you aren’t going to fit in with all these new changes at your company, you signed a contract that said you must stay on for 18 months after ANY merger. Yikes!

Other legal paperwork like non-competes or non-solicits say you cannot bring your customers to another company or even compete in the same industry for up to two years! Ouch! Based on something as aggressive as that, you might choose to stay or leave the industry entirely.

The best thing you can do from the start is to make sure you get a copy of whatever you sign on your first week of employment. This way you won’t set off any alarm bells with HR by asking to see your non-compete, because you already have a copy of it.

If you have a copy of the things you’ve signed, there’s no harm in having a lawyer take a look and explain your options to you. This is your career we are talking about so don’t be afraid to be careful and purposeful with all of the moves that you make here.

8. The Dust Never Settles

As much as you might want your job to go back to “normal” that’s just not possible anymore.  Systems are going to be integrated, a new culture will emerge, new people will join, and integral people you saw every day at the office might be leaving. In reality, a new “normal” will take years to develop. By the time you are used to a new “normal” your entire job and its responsibilities could be completely different. Anticipate the new as best you can and decide if you want to ride this wave or not.

Mergers and acquisitions can be scary no matter what side you are on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared with these eight tips. If you are going through one of those right now, we wish you nothing but wisdom to figure out what is best for you in your professional journey. Should you want to talk with one of our staffing professionals to go over what could be waiting for you at another freight brokerage, we would love to talk to you here:

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With over 90 years of logistic experience, Top Talent has been committed to “Finding people who make a difference” for its clients. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.

– Michael Monson
Top Talent LLC
President and CEO