There probably is an asset that is nothing more important in an acquisition than the people. They are the ones that make the engine run and carry the entire business. That is why knowing how to handle the integration of the people really matters. Helping you with that, Domenic Rinaldi interviews human resources professional Klint Kendrick to talk about the best practices for integrating employees during the mergers and acquisitions transaction. He talks about the due diligence that relates to HR, assessing culture, leadership and compliance, and the most important things to consider when it comes to human capital. Don’t miss out on this great conversation to learn more about how you can avoid losing employees or productivity after acquisition and more.

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Klint Kendrick: Best Practices For Integrating Employees During M&A

From my perspective, the most important asset in an acquisition is the people. There is no other more important asset. They make the engine run. How you handle the integration of the people matters. We are being joined by Dr. Klint Kendrick. He’s an HR expert, who’s been involved in over 70 M&A deals. He’s the author of The HR Practitioner’s Guide to Mergers & Acquisitions Due Diligence. He also founded the HR M&A Roundtable, which is a peer learning platform for HR professionals to help them gain knowledge and skills, so that when their companies are going out and doing M&A transactions, they’re prepared. Losing employees or productivity after an acquisition can kill your ROI. Don’t let that happen. If you want to understand the best practices for integrating employees, you won’t want to miss this episode.

Before we get into the interview, please head over to K2Adviser. If you want to avoid common deal pitfalls, the risk of losing substantial dollars, you need to know how ready you are for the transaction. I decided to better support the people in our community. I will be opening up enrollment and taking applications for a small number of people who need help in coaching on how to be better prepared to buy or sell a business. I’m limiting enrollment. Email us as soon as possible if you’re interested. You can do that by sending an email to [email protected] and request info on our coaching opportunity. Being prepared is critical to ensuring that you maximize returns and minimize risk. Thank you for being here. I hope you enjoy the episode.

Dr. Kendrick, welcome to the show. I’m happy to have you here.

Thanks, Domenic. I’m excited to be here.

You are the author of The HR Practitioner’s Guide to Mergers & Acquisitions Due Diligence. You’re also the Founder of the HR Mergers and Acquisitions Roundtable. You come with a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge. I’m excited to unpack due diligence as it relates to HR. If you wouldn’t mind giving the M&A Unplugged community a little bit of a background on yourself and how you got into HR M&A?

I’m glad to be here and to be able to share some of the things that I’ve learned both from my 70-plus deals and from the experience that I’ve gained talking with people in the roundtable community. I’ve been doing M&A for many years. I’ve done it for a number of companies that people would recognize the names of, ranging from aerospace to technology, to entertainment and media, to consumer-packaged goods. All of my experience has been in the house. I’ve had the fortune of working with a number of great people that have helped to shape me into a person who I think has a lot to offer, people who care about leadership, culture and people inside their deals.

Were you always involved in corp dev in doing M&A deals or how did you get involved in M&A?

I started in HR a while back before I had all this gray in the beard. I happened to work for a company that needed somebody to fill that HR M&A role. Being a decent project manager and a guy with a business head on his shoulder, they said, “Go check this opportunity out.” I was fortunate enough to have a good mentor working for a serial acquirer and got my hands dirty early on, partnering with some great corp dev people who were willing to take the HR guy along for the ride and allow me to contribute where I could.

You were part of the deal team and you’ve got to see the whole deal then, I’m assuming?

Sometimes, the 7culture conversations are really about the change agility of the organization. Click To Tweet

Yes, absolutely. I was pulled in on a couple of deals prior to the LOI, which is fairly unusual for an HR person, and I’m glad they did. When you look at what you’re going to do with acquisition and you look at what goes on with the people, sometimes you need another set of eyes. One deal, I can remember we were going to take this acquisition and grow it quite a bit. When we looked at the talent market in this particular country, there weren’t enough people to do the work we were planning to do. Had they not pulled me in to do the labor market analysis early on and the deal, we could have spent a lot of money and then struggled to find people to fill the jobs so that we could grow that business appropriately.

What I know will translate is a lot of our readers don’t have the benefit of having big corporate development teams to do acquisitions and they’re having to do the HR component themselves or maybe outsource it to a professional if they have the resources, but in most cases, they’re figuring out the HR themselves. In my experience has been an inordinate amount of time and effort goes into the numbers and the financials and whether or not the deal, makes sense and where the money’s going to come from and HR comes at the tail-end. I don’t want to say it’s an afterthought, but it is. Maybe we could talk a little bit about and address when people don’t have teams of HR people, how can they approach HR? What are the things they should be thinking about as they go through and look at diligence from this perspective?

That’s part of why I wrote the book. It’s not for the companies that I’ve come from where there’s often a professional like myself with a lot of experience or even a team with a dozen or so HR people for some of the larger serial acquirers. This is written for the solo practitioner who’s the person that has a company that wants to go buy something and they don’t know where to start. When I sat down to write, I said, “If I were to write a due diligence playbook for a person in HR who got that phone call, ‘We’re about to go buy somebody,’ and they’re doing that, “Oh crap,” moment, I want this book to be their guide.” I break it down in a way that’s accessible. When I think about due diligence, I think about risk. I think about identifying risks, assessing risks, and then figuring out how you’re going to mitigate those risks.

As it relates to the human capital part of that, what are the typical risks that are involved? What are the most important things when it comes to the human capital that acquirers should be thinking about?

I think about these risks in six distinct categories and like any other categorization system, there’s going to be some overlap. What most people in corp dev and the business think about are the first two, which are the financial and operational risks, “What’s this going to do with our money and how are the people going to affect how we run this business?” Then we start to slide into some other risk areas like compliance risks, “Are we doing things the right way? Are there a bunch of penalties and fees waiting for us if something got done incorrectly?”

I look at leadership and culture, which have an inordinate effect on operations. We don’t tend to think about it that way, but who you have running your business and the culture that you’ve built up inside the business is going to affect how you run the business. That in turn is going to affect how profitable and productive your business is. Finally, I look at how the HR operation is run. How was the HR team staffed and structured? What are the tools and techniques they use?

You’re an acquire and you are looking at a target business and trying to assess the talent pool that you have. How they’re going to feel about the acquisition and whether or not there’s a good cultural fit? Whether you’re a group of investors that are going to run this yourselves or your company acquiring another company, you need to think about the culture aspect and the talent pool. What are your ideas and best practices around that?

Culture is one of those words that’s pretty amorphous. People make culture mean what they want it to mean at the moment. When I think about culture and business, I think about the way things get done in a particular business. Let me give you an example that affects people. When we think about things like travel and expense policies. A lot of small companies, the sales team everybody is running around on their own credit card, getting their own airline miles, making their own travel reservations, staying at their own hotels and figuring that out on their own.

A large acquirer can come in and all of a sudden, you’ve got this travel and expense policy that doubles, or even triples the amount of time that it takes for this person to go book meetings with clients because now they’ve got to go into a separate system. They’ve got to fill out all these brand-new expense reports and there’s a learning curve associated with that. You’ve got your sales team that’s used to being able to do things a certain way. We’ve added this administrative burden to how they go do things and then we wonder in a couple of months why they’re less productive. We’ve taken a couple of hours out of their day every day to go work on this administrative overlay. We’ve changed the way that they have to go do business.

MAU 68 | Integrating Employees During M&A

The HR Practitioner’s Guide to Mergers & Acquisitions Due Diligence: Understanding the People, Leadership, and Culture Risks in M&A

When you’re assessing fit, is it more about the policies and procedures and the way people have done business, or is there also this other component around their morals and beliefs and/or are the two completely intertwined and you can’t separate them?

I think you have a difficult time pulling the two apart. It’s hard to get a line of sight between, “How I do in my expense report and my values as a person?” They’re pretty difficult. When we think about how a company operates, “Is it top-heavy? Are things top-down or is it more equitable where everybody in the organization gets a vote? How does communication flow? Does it move from the top? Does it move through managers?” When I think about culture fit, I also have to think about what’s the final integration plan. If I’m going to leave the organization standalone, then I’m going to have a different kind of culture conversation than if I’m going to fully integrate the business. Sometimes those culture conversations and looking at culture fit is about what I call the change agility of the organization.

How well will the people in this company be able to pivot to do things a new and different way? Does that new and different way align with what I say the values are?” If I say I’m a human-centric company, but I have a bunch of policies that punish people for showing up 30 minutes late, that’s not going to line up and that’s going to make that change harder to go from where the target company is now to where that new part of our company is going to be when we integrate. I hope that helps provide a little bit of perspective about how the values and the policies play into one another.

Let me take that another step further. In the large deals that you’re used to working on, these are usually announced well in advance. The teams come in and you’re working on diligence. In a lot of the smaller, lower, middle, market deals, usually, there’s no announcement. In fact, they don’t want employees to know that there’s going to be an acquisition until the day that it happens other than key employees that have to be locked up in some way. What’s your advice to people on how you assess culture when you can’t touch, feel and talk to the employees?

Let me take a little bit of a step back and say that I’ve worked on deals of all sizes. I’ve worked on billion-dollar deals where the public company I’ve worked for is buying another public company and certainly there are regulatory waiting periods involved. I’ve also done a deal with two people.

You understand the genesis of the question here then.

I would say the bread and butter deal at one of the companies that I’ve worked for was about 100 people. In the technology world, your founder and C-Suite tend to know, but your rank and file employees don’t know. How do I assess culture? I’m going to talk to the founder, I’m going to get a sense of them, but they’re going to have one perspective. There are other perspectives on how that company operates. Going out and looking at Glassdoor, looking at their social media feed, looking at the company’s website tells me a lot about the culture. What are they promoting? Do they have an About Us section where they tell me the story of the company? Can I look at their marketing materials and understand the voice of that company and how compatible it is with us?

There is a list that we have of some of the key cultural inflection points. Those things tend to create challenges for employees to go through that change. I tend to look back at some of those things and it comes back to communication. It comes back to looking at things as simple as job titles. Having worked for big companies, not everybody can be a vice president. I remember sitting in my guest office one day when we were doing a deal and a young lady who was the director of customer experience, her new job title was event planner too.

It was a huge blow to her ego. It’s not something I wanted to do either because I knew that she was more valuable to that startup than an event planner too. When we went to do that job title alignment, it hit her right there. It was like a gut punch. We knew that that was going to be a challenge because we’d looked at the job titles in the data room when we got our employee census sheet. There are a lot of little artifacts that we can look at that tell us where there may be some challenges integrating people into different cultural contexts.

Just looking at the company's website tells a lot about the culture. Click To Tweet

I’m glad that we started with culture because it’s such a big component of an acquisition. Knowing whether or not the two companies are going to merge or if you’re an investor group walking in, whether or not your personalities and characteristics are going to fit in that existing culture or whether or not you’re going to have some headwinds and need to get ahead of that. Let’s move on from culture and let’s talk about some of the other things from an HR perspective that acquirers should be thinking about as they walk through due diligence.

I tend to think most people are going to start with the finances. The reason that we do deals is there’s some strategic objective, whether it’s around the top line, around growth or around filling some white space. Usually, that’s going to come down to the finances and the operations. When we look at how people get involved in the financials and usually it’s the cost. What are the payroll costs look like? One little tip that can be helpful. I like to look at payroll costs in the past years. A lot of times, when a group is getting ready to sell even a small business, they do a little bit of housekeeping. People that are a bit of deadweight or aren’t meeting their quotas, they’re let go, hopefully in a respectful way.

It’s always a bit of a red flag for me when I look at the payroll expense several years ago and it was 150% of what’s on the financials. Our people are now working 60 to 80 hours and I’m going to have to do something extraordinary to retain them, and that then feeds into the operations. There are all these little Venn diagrams that happen where you can’t quite put things into clean buckets. When I look at operations and people it’s, do they have the right organization design? Am I going to have to change that organization design when it comes time for us to integrate?

Is that going to create some challenges? Am I going to lose key people that are necessary to run the business? I’ve looked at companies where from an operational perspective, they’re missing some of the C-Suite and those positions have been vacant for 6 or 9 or 12 months. It always makes scratch my head and go, “Do they not know what they need? Are they not paying these people enough? Are they holding that position open for future growth?” It’s not always a bad news story, but I like to understand what the plan is to run that business through its people.

We’ll also see some crazy things sometimes happen with compensation where they didn’t pair people, but they increased salaries because they wanted to take care of some people. They are not realizing that, once people start to dive in, if there’s a new salary set, it might change the valuation if you’re doing it on the heels of an acquisition. We’ve had that before. We’re in diligence and while we’re in diligence, somebody changed compensation for some of their key employees. The buyers found that and all of a sudden, there was a discussion around, “You’ve changed the EBITDA of this business in sometimes substantial ways.”

The other thing that I sometimes see is changes to the incentive makeup. If there’s a transaction bonus that’s suddenly added and I’m trying to figure out how to do a meaningful retention plan, you’ve changed that math as well.

You talked a little bit about compliance and leadership. Why don’t we talk a little bit about those items?

Compliance is one of those areas where it helps to have an HR geek. When we start to look at things like compliance with overtime laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act, many small businesses don’t do a great job of classifying people in accordance with the law. There are very specific rules around who has to be paid overtime and who doesn’t. A lot of small businesses don’t have the sophistication to understand that. Sometimes there’s penalties and back wages associated with that misclassification. That’s one of the big things I see. Sometimes 401(k) plans aren’t set up properly and we have to go in and fix those. In my experience, those are never a showstopper. It’s one of those things that we know is an issue. We’ll clean it up during integration. I firmly believe that most founders are well-intentioned people trying to do their best and an HR geek like me stumbles across a problem. That’s more about awareness so we know what we’re going to have to go clean up.

One of the big one’s compliance that we see a lot of is if you don’t have a very clear policy around vacation carryovers, if you don’t have a use it or lose it policy that’s written and communicated, we’ve had situations where people have assumed that vacation days kept on rolling over. All of a sudden, there’s a transaction and somebody wants to get paid out there 50 days that they’ve gotten the bank of vacation. That’s a pretty big number.

MAU 68 | Integrating Employees During M&A

Integrating Employees During M&A: Putting it into simple language that the employees understand will help them understand where things are in the deal.


In some cases, that’s legally required. Depending on how you move the employees, whether you’re changing their legal entities and depending on the state that you’re in, you could be legally obligated to pay that out if it’s a technical termination. Meaning that the person is being terminated from the seller because they’re being moved into the buyer’s legal entity. There are lots of caveats, but sometimes you do have to pony up that cash. Sometimes the employees are happy looking at all this money, but you want to know that it’s happening.

What we’re talking about, the firing and rehiring of people, if they’re going to be going into a new entity, have you come across a good seamless way to bring all the employees together and have this communication because that can be scary. “What do you mean I’m being fired?” It’s a technicality because they’re being moved from one entity to another, but is there a best practice around the day the acquisition happens, bringing everybody together and having the HR communications plan?

With the HR M&A Roundtable I run, we’re doing an informal happy hour on announcement day best practices. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I would say that there are a few things. One, you want to go and understanding that this is probably news to the employees. This is a surprise to them and the founders up there often a few million dollars richer and very happy and is completely out of sync with the rest of the employees who are stunned. They’re sitting in their seats and they’re thinking, “Can I pay my mortgage? Are my kids still going to be able to get braces or some other form of medical care? Am I still going to get paid the same? Do I have a job?”

The founders up there are talking about the strategic vision for the combination. The employees don’t care at that point. They do not care what your growth strategy is. They want to know that they can feed their kids and pay their mortgage. I start with a very high degree of empathy. Be very transparent. If you know everybody’s going to stay, say so. If you don’t know that, don’t say so, because if you’re going to end up letting people go and you tell them that everybody’s going to stay, the minute you do your first termination, you’ll lose everybody else. You’ll have destroyed that trust. Other things that I try to do when I coach the leaders on announcement day is to make sure that they don’t answer questions they don’t know the answer to.

It’s okay to not know the answer, “I don’t know, but here’s the process we’re going to follow to figure that out,” and then commit to a regular communications cadence afterward. Those make it easier, but we have to acknowledge that that’s a hard day. I have a friend who works in executive search and he says, “Acquisition announcements are like blood in the water.” If headhunters are sharks, they’re going to smell that and go after it. Sure enough, I’ve done deals in high growth very competitive talent spaces. Somebody sees in their RSS feed that this company’s buying that company and we will literally have people find out about the acquisition because they got a call from a headhunter 30 minutes before our announcement meeting happens. It’s critical to do those well because highly marketable employees are going to have lots of options.

While we’re on this topic of what to tell the employees and whatnot, the topic of timing always comes up with business owners and even with business buyers. Our best practice around that is don’t tell people unless they have to be in the know in order to get the transaction done because they’re going to have tons of questions. The questions that they’re going to have, you can’t answer. As an owner, you don’t know who the buyer is when you start marketing. You don’t know absolutely if everybody’s going to keep their job. There are many things you don’t know and when you can’t answer questions, people get nervous. When people get nervous, as you referenced, they have mortgages and college tuitions. People are going to go take care of themselves. That might lead them to go find another job and there goes value walking right out the door.

The other thing that I find helpful because you can’t let everybody know. It’s problematic. I’ve been on the sell-side a few times doing some carve-outs and we’re very careful about who we let into the circle of trust if you will, but then we’re also very mindful about how we help people out once it gets announced. One of the other announcement day best practices that I think is a good one is to have a separate meeting for your middle managers. The most trusted source of information for most employees is their immediate manager. We have this unfortunate norm where we pull everybody into the room and we’ve given their manager ten minutes of notice like, “In ten minutes, we’re about to go do this company-wide announcement that we’ve been bought by so-and-so.”

Unfortunately, that means that that middle manager is stuck with the same questions that those employees have about their mortgage, college tuition and healthcare. Instead, I recommend giving them a little bit more time, I realize you can’t give them days to process, but give them an hour. I try to provide good tools when I go into those meetings that say, “You’re shocked.” I’ve been acquired a few times in my career, by the way. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve lived it.

I try to give them some good tools. I try to give them permission to be where they are. I try to assume the best of people and I assume that those managers want to take care of their families, but they also want to take care of their employees and their employees’ families. Let’s give them some tools on how to do that. Let’s coach them on how to answer those hard questions and again, give them permission to say, “I don’t know yet, but I know our leader and I know our leader has our best interest in mind. Let’s give him a chance to sort this out.”

On the buy side, the secret weapon is almost always the person who staffs the front desk. Click To Tweet

You bring them into the fold a little bit earlier. They feel a little bit more in the note, and that is your first line of defense as you referenced. You talked about regular communication. I’d like you to talk about that for a minute. I’d also like you to talk a little bit about keeping your pulse on the heartbeat of the employee base. Maybe talk about what regular communication looks like and then how do you keep your pulse on what’s happening because people will sometimes say one thing to your face and be doing something completely different. As the new acquirers or if you’re the owner that’s recapitalizing, you’re sticking around, how do you maintain that communication channel?

I’m a big fan of management by walking around. That’s hard to do in the middle of COVID. Regular check-in calls, frequent one-on-ones where possible are a good way to do things where you have a larger organization and that’s not possible. I’m a big fan of frequent push communications where you’re sharing integration updates or if you’re announcing before you’ve closed the deal and you’ve got some closing conditions in place, let people know where the transaction is. One of the things that I do in the book and I do when I talk with employees is, I compare the process of buying a company to the process of buying a home just because most of us have seen house hunters once or twice. We know how buying a house works.

I find that putting it into simple language that the employees understand so they know where things are in the deal, they know what’s going on, is helpful and then checking in. On the buy side, my secret weapon is almost always the person who staffs the front desk. It’s usually a wonderful lady. She’s usually the office mom. Everybody passes by that person and quite honestly, I try to form a relationship with that individual early on.

That is great advice. They tend to hear everything intended or unintended.

The other thing that we have to realize is that as human beings, we’re designed to survive out in jungles and deserts and not office environments. When we look at the threats that are around us, we’re always going to assume the worst because if we’re out hunting the lion and we hear the wind or the brush move, if it’s the wind, then we’re a little embarrassed, but if it’s that lion, we better be running. In an acquisition where people are worried about their financial survival, they’re going to react as if it’s that lion coming to get them. They’re going to make up the worst story possible because that’s what we’re wired to do as human beings to survive.

I was watching a movie and I was thinking about this interview. The movie is Greater. It’s a movie on Netflix. It’s about this collegiate football player, Brandon Burlsworth. It’s a sad and great movie. It was very moving to me. In his senior year, his head coach got fired and the new head coach came in who used to take over the program. In his initial speech, he said, “We’re going to rebuild.” He as a senior was thinking, “I’ve dedicated three years of my life, I don’t want to rebuild. I want to win now.” He went to the coach and said, “I would appreciate if you never said rebuild because I’ve put my heart and soul into this and I want to win now. I think we can win now.”

I was thinking about this interview in the context of most buyers buy a business because they want to make it something much better. There’s a slippery slope where you come in and say, “I’ve bought this business and we’re going to do these ten things and we’re going to make it much better,” but the psyche of the employees are they’ve been working their butts off, put their heart and soul into this business. Now, you’re telling them that everything they’ve done is crap and you’re going to remake it all. That may not be the best message unless a accompany is in complete shambles which is sometimes the case, but not usually the case. Do you have a perspective on that coming from an HR angle?

We want to build people up and to your point, I believe that when we’re doing due diligence and most companies do the decent diligence of the very top person. The founder or the CEO and then it starts to fall apart the minute you get down an extra level. You have to assume that that CEO or that founder has done a decent job of finding the right people to build that business to the point where it was an attractive target to you unless you’re buying a distressed asset. That’s a different bit of math. I absolutely think that you need to acknowledge that to employees to say, “You’ve built this great thing. You’ve built this awesome product or service.” It’s something that we want to continue to move forward with.

This fits into that leadership risk category. There are a couple of different tools in the book on different ways to assess your leaders and your key players and some ways to think about retention beyond slapping a two-year button share retention program on them. Some other creative ways to look at retaining people whether you need them to integrate the business or to operate the business. It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at people. If you’ve made them feel bad about being there, if you’ve made them feel like you don’t value them, I wouldn’t want to stick around in that environment.

Integrating Employees During M&A: Often, the best-learned lessons are during the times where we just completely mess something up. But don’t make that mistake again. Instead, go on to make new, different, and more interesting mistakes next.


I think the message to acquirers is you have to be careful. We know you want to make it much better, but don’t gloss over the fact that these people have put many years in the building what it is. It is good enough that you’ve bought it, you’ve paid something for it. It had to be somewhat decent or you wouldn’t have been buying it. Now, how do you build up the employees and take them to the next level? This all leads to you. You’ve got 70 deals and years of experience. You’ve written this book, and then you go off and start the HR M&A Roundtable. Is that right?

The roundtables have been around for several years. I was quite excited to get them going. It took off in a way that I didn’t expect it to. If you think about being a corporate guy, as I’ve been for my whole career, I learned how to do M&A one way. The way for the company that I started doing M&A with, but there are many other ways to do deals and many things that we can learn from one another. That’s why a show like yours are popular. It’s why I recommend people who go out and listen to it so that they can learn these other perspectives. I look at the round tables is taking that to the next level where “I’m not going to hear ideas from people that are doing cool things. I’m going to talk about those ideas with my peers, and we’re going to try to do M&A better.”

Some people have said, “Isn’t that a competitive advantage for your company?” I’m like, I’m not convinced it’s a unique competitive advantage. I think that a rising tide lifts all ships. When we look at how M&A affects people, communities, investors and it affects our entire ecosystem. Doing it well is something that should be of interest to all of us. We don’t talk about specific deals. We don’t name targets, but we do talk about ideas, our successes and the times that maybe it didn’t go well. Some of my best-learned lessons were the times that I completely mess something up, but you know what, I don’t make that mistake again. I go on to make new and different and more interesting mistakes next.

What a great idea to do this and start these roundtables for HR executives because like yourself, you were in HR, you were asked to be part of a deal team, but you had no M&A background. I contend that I don’t care what you’re requiring, the people in the business are the most important asset. They make the engine run. They deal with your clients, develop the products, make them better and HR is one of those things that doesn’t get enough attention in M&A deals. I’m happy that there are people like yourself out there that have brought it to the forefront. I think the roundtables are tremendous.

Thank you for being a guy that has signaled boosts that. Inherently, we all know that. We all know that people are important, but I think it’s hard. My undergraduate degree is in Accounting. I didn’t start off thinking I was going to stay in the world of HR. It’s not something that we discussed in my Accounting classes was how to look at people. I hope that taking my deal experience and putting it into written form is something that will help people to think a little bit differently about the people, leadership and culture elements of a deal and make that difference in their transactions. Hopefully, it will improve the bottom line for them too.

Are there any parting thoughts that you’d like to share with the M&A Unplugged community?

Thank you for having me on. I think I would simply close by saying that, if you don’t feel like you’re paying enough attention to the people in your deals, if you’ve got that suspicion that you’re not, then follow that gut hunch and think for a few moments about what it would be like for you to be sitting in that chair at announcement day when your boss walks in and says, “We’ve been purchased.” I think that’s a solid starting point for people to put themselves in that chair, close your eyes for a few minutes and say, “What would I want to know? What would I want to hear? What would I want to be able to plan for?” Starting from that place of empathy makes an enormous difference and it’ll shape how you do your diligence, it’ll shape how you do your integration. Hopefully again, it will help you realize the deal value a little bit faster.

If people in the M&A Unplugged community wanted to get in touch with you, how could they reach you?

I’m an open networker on LinkedIn, so that’s a good place. Our website is We’re hosting a conference later 2020 and they can find some information on that, or take a look at some of the resources that we have. It’s a peer-learning environment. This is something I do out of passion. This isn’t a big consulting business that I run. This is a passion project designed to help lift the community up. Hopefully, there will be resources that people can use there.

As human beings, we're designed to survive in jungles and deserts and not really office environments. Click To Tweet

Dr. Kendrick, it’s so nice to have you here.

Thank you so much, Domenic. I appreciate it.

I hope you enjoy this episode. If you enjoy our content, please remember to subscribe and review our show. I look forward to seeing you again in the next episode. Until then, please remember that scaling, acquiring or selling a business takes time, preparation and the proper knowledge.

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About Dr. Klint Kendrick

MAU 68 | Integrating Employees During M&A

Dr. Kendrick is a firm believer in professional development and has worked to ensure HR professionals can benefit from formal training, mentoring, and peer-learning. Klint has started HR M&A Roundtables in Seattle, Chicago, and online, and chairs an annual conference for HR professionals working on mergers and acquisitions. The HR M&A Roundtable is a peer-learning forum for Human Resource professionals working on mergers and acquisitions. His work has inspired other roundtables to start in Dallas, New York, and London. You can learn more about the roundtables at

Dr. Klint Kendrick has worked in human resources for over two decades, with extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, international HR, people analytics, total rewards, workforce planning, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, recruitment and retention. Dr. Kendrick has worked in multiple environments, ranging from HR leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies like Oracle and Boeing to being an HR department of one for scrappy start-ups.

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