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Retaining talent during M&A with skills gap analysis

One end result of most mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is an expanded population of talent that can drive the digital transformation of a newly unified company.

But to realize the total value of the deal, you need to set employees up for immediate and future success.

An upskilling solution with automated skills gap analysis capabilities can help drive alignment between merging organizations to bridge skill gaps and generate a resilient—and loyal—workforce.

To leverage enterprise-wide learning as a team integration tool during M&A, you should know: 

  • When to address skills gaps in the M&A journey (hint: it’s before the deal closes)

  • What an advanced skills gap analysis looks like

  • How a skills gap analysis builds workforce resilience and controls the narrative of your brand

Address skills gaps early to build a bridge for your workforce

While many companies claim to keep employee transition a priority during M&A, only 10% of firms report significant success in post-M&A employee retention.

So, where are they going wrong?

The lack of early, proactive engagement is often to blame. Failure to plan and execute an upskilling strategy can lead to a disjointed culture and many employees with one foot out the door.

New employees are ramping up their understanding of your organization’s fundamental values, expectations and practices, while existing staff still may need reassurances that they’re valued and in the loop. Both parties need to be set up for success.

An educational program can provide engaging training opportunities and insights while bridging the divide between diverse skill sets. This gives employees the solid ground they crave as changes shake out.

Since upskilling can contribute to culture integration success, and culture integration is key to maintaining the most value out of an acquisition, companies should make workforce development a priority early in the M&A process—before the deal closes. To do so, start by asking a few simple, yet targeted questions:

  • What skills are we acquiring?

  • What skills do we currently have?

  • What is our plan to retain existing talent?

  • What plans do we have in place to reduce redundancies and navigate reductions? 

  • Do we have the right change management teams and approaches in place to navigate both sides of the deal?

This is where a skills gap analysis comes into play. It can help pinpoint skills gaps so you can see where your organization stands and make data-driven decisions as you move through the entire deal cycle.

Identify skills gap in the workplace with a skills gap analysis

Barely one in four leaders can definitely identify skills they’ll need in the future. Even though many invest in digital upskilling programs to prepare them for the future of work, they’re slow to see results and ROI.

There’s a simple explanation: business leaders don’t clearly understand the skills their workers already have compared to the skills their organization will need in the future. 

Conducting a workforce skills gap analysis is key to smoother transitions during reorganization—just make sure it’s dynamic. Traditional methods of understanding and solving skill gaps tend to be manual or fragmented. HR systems used to gather and analyze performance and feedback often lack the data companies need to understand future skill needs.

A more powerful upskilling solution should include AI-powered insights so you can visualize your entire workforce skills portfolio, develop targeted learning plans that close skill gaps and track results as people upskill. 

Investing in skills gap analysis creates more resiliency

Leaders may uncover redundancies among teams, identify skills that may no longer be required and come across mismatches between skills and roles with any merger or acquisition. But what if you could balance reductions or attrition with role realignment or apply upskilling to quickly unlock your employees’ true potential

A skills gap analysis can lead to data-driven, targeted solutions that can potentially save your company from sweeping layoffs and realized role gaps—not to mention the bad press. Analysis data will highlight previously hidden skills and the most evident pathways for realignment into new roles, which will help reveal solutions to reduce attrition, redundancies and reductions.

If reductions do occur, you can still maintain the reputation and stickiness of your brand. When you help employees identify areas for development and give them the tools to fix skill gaps, they feel more valued and resilient no matter the outcome. As they navigate the talent marketplace, your investment in their future remains the top headline, which creates a cycle of shared prosperity.

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Invest in tomorrow

Stay ahead of the curve with PwC ProEdge, the revolutionary way to upskill your people and prepare your organization for tomorrow. This unique platform allows you to pinpoint critical skill gaps and effectively help close them with automatically generated personalized learning pathways. Leading curated content, coursework and hands-on learning empower your workforce to make an immediate impact at scale. ProEdge enables your people to perform at their highest level—giving them the power to help transform your entire organization.

Take the first step on a new path toward transforming both your organization and the learning experience of your employees.

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