According to the article “You Bought a Business…Now What? 5 Post-Acquisition Steps” by contributor Nicole Fallon Taylor on businessnewsdaily.com, whether you’re investing in a franchise or purchasing an independent company, you cannot simply come in, tear down the existing infrastructure and remake the business from scratch without sacrificing the trust and respect of your new employees, which are essential to success. As such, Taylor offers five steps to take to make the managerial transition after acquiring a business easier:

Immerse yourself in the business’ processes and practices

Even though you probably became familiar with your new business’ practices during the pre-acquisition phase, there will still be much to learn because you will not know everything about the business until you begin to operate it. One practical part of the business to audit is its security measures. According to Taylor, here are three key security measures you should look for:

  • What systems/cloud services is the business using?
  • How is access to these systems controlled (user accounts, passwords, etc.)?
  • Are there documented, standard procedures for managing and maintaining the system?

Talk to the existing staff

Acquisitions often inspire fear in the existing staff of the acquired business, as acquisitions often mean staff cuts in addition to other unknown changes. As such, you should be transparent with them. Ideally, you should communicate with every employee and team member within 24 hours of the finalized acquisition announcement, both verbally and by writing out an FAQ that can be posted around the business and sent to every employee.

Part of this communication should include your plans for the first three months of the transition; however, Taylor warns, you ought not discuss the changes to come, but how you plan to learn and meet everyone at the company. Follow through with this plan before making any changes. Make sure to meet with every executive and upper-level management in the company one-on-one, preferably in an informal setting, such as a coffee shop, so that he or she can be more relaxed.

Learn the company culture

Before trying to impose your own ideas for a culture on the company, stop and understand the existing culture to understand how it attributed to the business’ success thus far. The existing culture should be the foundation of any new ideas you might have, but remember that in a franchise setting especially, the cultural practices that are implemented have been done so because they are effective. Certainly, franchisors have an interest in their franchisees’ ideas, since the latter interact daily with customers, but you should first develop a plan that outlines your culture change suggestions and the benefits that you expect to result from them; then, you can present them to the franchisors with more hope for acceptance and adoption.

Related: Wash Wisdom: 4 tips for creating an ethical business culture

Understand the right time to implement changes

Changes should be made in such a way that it causes as few disruptions for employees as possible. Again, acquired employees are fearful of change, but once you establish a few changes that are pointing the company in the right direction, they will trust your decisions more and back further changes. However, keep in mind the health of the company as well. If you’ve acquired a healthy company, it’s best to make as few changes as possible within the first six months.

On the flip side, if the company is struggling, you will need to make smart decisions quickly because your top staff is making note of how you’re going to turn the company around. In addition, if you’re hiring new employees, make sure you are making smart hiring decisions, especially in the managerial department. This time is critical for you to be able to step back and look at the big picture of the company, not micro-managing others.

Be transparent

Your decisions for change won’t always be popular, so it’s best to be upfront and honest about them and explain exactly why you are making the changes you are. Employees and customers will be much more understanding if you explain the reasoning behind a change.

Read the original article here.