By Ginger Christ for HRDIVE
Nearly everything about Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of social media company Twitter has been out of the ordinary, experts say.
From the billionaire’s solo purchase of the company to a slew of personnel changes made within days of the Oct. 27 acquisition, it’s “definitely an anomaly,” said Ayesha Whyte, attorney and chief people officer at human resources and law firm Dixon Whyte LLC.
Typically, there is a leadership shakeup after a company is purchased, but those executives are saddled with golden parachutes that carry them until their next gig, Whyte said. Meanwhile, there are reports Musk fired top executives for cause, which could strip them of severance payouts.
If Musk is willing to open himself up to lawsuits from C-suite leaders with the “means and wherewithal to sue,” he likely would treat other employees with fewer resources the same way, Whyte said.
“That’s why there’s so much anxiety about this,” Whyte said.
Twitter could not immediately be reached for comment.
In a merger and acquisition situation, the best way to avoid employees panicking is by delivering open and frequent communication, said Thom Fladung, managing partner at crisis communications firm Hennes Communications.
“People panic when they think they’re being lied to; they panic when they think you don’t know what’s going on,” Fladung said.
Even if there is uncertainty, being upfront about it and admitting what you don’t know is better than pretending “you’ve got it,” when you don’t, Fladung said.
Communication should start internally, then move external, he said. And it should be frequent with employees. Even when there isn’t news to report, giving workers regular updates during a time of turmoil can “give them a little slice of certainty in uncertain times,” Fladung said. For more, click here.