Insight

Words matter: Employee comms for smooth IPOs or SPAC transactions

Seven steps to keeping employees engaged throughout the IPO or SPAC process

John Luce

John Luce

Principal, Advisory M&A Services, KPMG US

+1 312-665-1112

Charles Boesel

Charles Boesel

Advisory Managing Director, Strategy, KPMG US

+1 312-665-5611

Robert Berkowitz

Robert Berkowitz

Director, Advisory Strategy, KPMG US

+1 917-438-3865

Gregory Kopp

Gregory Kopp

Advisory Managing Director, Strategy, KPMG US

+1 202-533-8011

An article from the KPMG SPAC Intel Hub.

Thousands of employees work for companies that will go public through an initial public offering (IPO) or via acquisition by a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in any given year. But not all employees will greet the news of a major corporate event with excitement and enthusiasm. Some may focus on the potential negatives (real or imagined): the possibility of job cuts, changes in roles, or impact on compensation. They can become distracted and unmotivated, and even seek other employment.

Because an engaged workforce can have such a positive impact during and after the transaction, internal communications should be one of the first things executives think about when planning to go public, not the last. Clear messaging about the deal to the workforce helps tamp down anxiety and rumors—and can inspire employees to ensure business continuity and boost productivity, reinforce the culture, and preserve customer and vendor relationships.

Many young companies that are about to go public may not have the staff and expertise in communications and change management to ensure that employees embrace the change. However, management can influence employee reactions with a simple but strong, proactive communications plan built on seven basic steps that can support the company’s successful entry into the public markets.

In this paper we recommend seven steps to establishing successful employee communications during an IPO or SPAC transaction:


Define.
Executives must tie the company’s overall mission, vision, and strategy to the rationale for the IPO or SPAC transaction.


Align.
Lack of alignment about what is said or how it’s said can cause confusion among employees.


Personalize.
Explain what the deal will mean to the individual employee. 


Plan.
Identify communications processes and channels; appoint content authors/approvers; designate who signs off in legal and who approves timing.


Identify
the best ways to disseminate key messages 


Customize.
Adapt messaging and tailor the story for different channels 


Control.
Closely manage execution of the employee communications plan