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Great Talent Always Exits After Merger

September 2, 2010
by Tim Tolan
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Here we go again.
More consolidation activity is taking place in our market. HCIT is a dynamic and changing landscape on the vendor front – but really no different that other industries when it comes to the consolidation we are seeing – except the enormous amount of money pouring into HCIT. Get ready for lots of merger and acquisition news. When a company is acquired many of the stakeholders and shareholders are thrilled. When a liquidity event occurs, for those that share in financial upside, it can be a very satisfying and rewarding. That’s a good thing. To others - not so much.

I hear about it more and more from candidates impacted by a merger or acquisition that are now in search of a new career. The company they used to work for has changed – forever. The way things used to be done are now done differently and it no longer feels like the same company. Guess what? It isn’t. The new culture and new ways of doing business are quickly replaced with new policies and procedures – that’s, of course, takes place right after the first in a series of many re-organizations as the company right-sizes itself. Out with the old and in with the new. That’s the way it works.

In many of the deals that take place it’s actually the employees that took the “old company from “good to great”. For many of these companies, the value of the company was largely driven by the organizations greatest asset – their employees. Once the deal closes you can smell it a mile away. The very best people that made the “old company” great run for the exit door. They don’t want to leave but struggle with all of the changes and poor execution on the integration of blending the “old” with the “new”.

It’s happening again in the HCIT vendor world and we are usually the first responders as candidates looking for a new home reach out to search professionals first - in total frustration in search of their next home. Unfortunately, within a short period of time, for many of these companies, the only thing that’s left is the intellectual property and a not so happy customer base. Customers feel the change as well. Service levels take a hit and the domain knowledge to support the products and services that made the acquired company great becomes scarce. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

Some of the large companies that have done multiple acquisitions and you might think they would be getting better at integrating the companies they acquire - and finding creative ways to retain the superstars that help make the company great. Not really. They either don’t get it – or they do – and by design, it’s just part of their master plan. It’s too bad so many good people have to leave after an acquisition – but life goes on.

There will be many more deals in our space as HCIT consolidates further. If this happens to one of your vendors, you will likely notice wholesale changes in your support and service and many of the great people you counted on for supporting your IT systems will be gone. Don’t take it personally. It’s just business.

Onward through the fog.

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Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

@@TimTolan

http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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