While there is a business-heavy side of ownership transition, there is also a very human element that involves keeping employee morale and engagement up during the process.
Decide What To Share
When it comes to handling staff, the biggest decision you will make is whether or not to inform them of the sale before closing. If you do inform them, consider also letting them meet the new owners. The known is always easier to handle than the unknown – having your staff meet the buyer gives the buyer the opportunity to explain the vision of the future and reassure employees.
Additionally, this helps the buyer gauge confidence in the transaction, since a competent team comes with a value all its own.
Encourage Employees to Share Concerns
Regardless of how well the transition of the sale goes, each employee may naturally worry about the future of the company and his role in it. Giving employees easy access to you or someone dedicated to answering questions can soften this part of the process.
Find the Good Things
Address the positives of the transition with employees. It’s the business owner’s job to do this. This prevents speculation that allows rumors and incorrect assumptions to flourish. Speculation happens when individuals don’t feel like management is sharing enough information. Keep cryptic language to a minimum, provide all information you can, and put a positive spin on the sale by outlining how it opens new personal and professional doors.
When you address these most common personnel issues, you’ll pave the way for a smooth trip to everyone’s new destination. The proper practice, patience, and preparation make this possible.