Key Talent Retention

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    I’m interested to hear different approaches to key talent retention post-acquisition, including monetary instruments including design and duration, and other measures taken to retain talent considered critical to realizing value post-integration. thanks!

    RongFang LYE

    I believe one of the tool that can be used to retain talent post-acquisition is a success bonus at the end of the assignment. This will keep the talent motivated and ensure they stay throughout the integration period.


    Hello Geraldine,

    I think there will always be people who will look for financial rewards and these people will jump for short term gain. For long term, I believe if you can motivate the staff intrinsically and align them with the goals and objectives of the organisation, provide a clear career path, I think you will have a better chance of retaining key staff.




    Some approaches may include retention bonuses, stock options, performance-based incentives, career development opportunities and open communications. It is also important to take holistic approach to key talent retention by focusing on the overall culture and work environment.


    Retaining talent is a critical aspect of a successful M&A transaction. Some broad points in the retention of talent includes: (1) effective communication; (2) improvements in compensation incentives; (3) positive work culture; and (4) addressing any pertinent points of concerns and conflicts

    Craig Hasler

    Hi Geraldine,

    Thanks for the prompt.

    I agree with many of the comments above… a well-thought out and articulated plan consisting of financial benefit, timing, and career development opportunities is typically the approach. Ultimately employees will leave if 1) they don’t feel their contributions are making an impact, 2) they feel underpaid, 3) they don’t see an opportunity for career development / growth.

    All the best.



    Talent retention in my view starts with how talent is selected during the integration process. In any merger of acquisition the basic premise should be ‘the best people for the job.’ If this principle is violated, real talent will hang around to collect the integration bonus (if they were overlooked during selection in their subjective view) and will then be off to greener pastures. This in my view is based on a universal value that ‘fairness should previal’ n any business culture. Or am I wrong?


    Off the top of my head, two strategies come to mind:
    1. Provide career development opportunities: Offering career development opportunities and a clear path for career progression can help employees see a future with the organization beyond the merger. Training, mentoring, and leadership development opportunities can help employees feel invested in their growth within the company.
    2. Acknowledge and reward performance: Recognizing and rewarding employee performance can help employees feel valued and appreciated. It can also motivate employees to continue to perform at a high level and contribute to the success of the organization.


    Good question.
    What is the definition of key talent ?
    Who should decide on the definition ?


    Most employees who have left our organization reported in exit interviews that their reasons for leaving stemmed from lack of a strong career path and/or lack of feedback from their supervisor on their career path. It is NOT always monetary – often it is not. Strong individuals crave feedback and desire to improve themselves – they have to be guided to these opportunities. I also think that doing market analysis of their role to ensure fair wages as well as contractual agreements through the course of the integration, possibly coupled with a completion bonus (with strong markers on what success means as far as the transaction goes) go a long way in showing your investment in someone, and the right people see that.


    For top management personnel that are important for the smooth transition, my company typically locks them for 2-3 years by contracts.

    Beau White

    I think it will be important to provide career mapping for associates. Helping them understand the new corporate structure, and how their performance feeds into future prospects is important.


    It can be very help to ask the incoming employees how the feel about their prior benefits (pay, time off, career path, health care, etc). I have found the elements people care most about varies significantly between targets. In general, they are looking to see an improvement in their current pain points. Understanding what those are can help put together a meaningful package without wasting resources where they are not seen as a high value add.


    I think that all of the above are great approaches. I would say it is critical to also look beyond compensation and benefits and ensure that this key talent feels that they are a part of the integration as opposed to the integration just happening to them. If they can contribute and feel their voice is heard I think that will help to gain buy in so that there is not a mass exodus once their stay bonus is paid out.


    IMO, most will probably look at personal financial gains, such as performance-based incentive, stock options, etc., and how much “free hand” they are given to grow the business.

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