Knowledge Transfer During Mergers And Acquisitions

Learn how Steve Trautman Co. has been helping the IT industry refine the knowledge transfer process since 1993.
Learn How
Knowledge Transfer During Mergers And Acquisitions 1

The Fight To Retain Talent During A Merger & Acquisition

At The Steve Trautman Co., we understand that the goal of every merger and acquisition is to make your own company more profitable. For most companies, this means retaining the talent that the acquisition brought in. 

It would be a tragedy to purchase a business, only to lose its employees due to mismanagement during the merger. 

Yet, this is frequently what happens.

The merging process can be confusing and if the incoming talent isn’t quickly married into your existing company structure, then it has a tendency to jump ship. 

Unfortunately, the process of merging two companies into one is a real problem that the working world faces. The main reason being that the majority of traditional merging processes are subjective, unclear, and led by people who don’t have any successful knowledge transfer experience.

How Steve Trautman Co. Streamlines The Merger & Acquisition Process

As a young project manager at Microsoft, Steve Trautman began identifying the flaws in traditional merger and knowledge transfer practices. Then, in 1995, he founded the Steve Trautman Company in an effort to help companies maneuver the difficult waters of knowledge transfer. 

For over two decades, Steve Trautman Co. has continued to streamline the merger and acquisition process by helping company leaders find solutions to merger challenges. We do this by providing companies with two time-proven methods for marrying incoming talent into your existing company:

  1. Talent Risk Management; a method of determining which of your current and incoming employees is able to answer the challenges raised by the merger. For the purpose of the following knowledge transfer, these employees are called your experts.
  2. Knowledge Transfer; a process-driven system that helps your experts transfer their skills to other employees quickly — ensuring that no knowledge is lost during the merger or acquisition. 

These methods can be carried out on every level of your company, from the C-Suite all the way down to the new hire. 

The rest of this page is dedicated to explaining these two methods in more detail. 

Talent Risk Management During A Merger Or Acquisition 

When two separate companies come together, there is an intense blending of cultures and standard operating procedures. And one of the biggest issues that prevent a merger or acquisition from going smoothly is deciding which systems to keep and which to change. 

For example, each company has its own coding standards. When two companies are merged, the head company needs to decide how coding standards will be affected going forward.

Making these decisions for every task and procedure in a company can be exhausting, which is why Steve Trautman Co. has developed the talent risk management system (TRM).

TRM is a proven process that helps merging companies systematically solve all of these dilemmas without a lapse in service quality. 

Here’s a brief explanation of how our TRM process works:

Step 1: Identify The Challenges That Need To Be Solved

The first step in TRM is to identify the procedure challenges raised by the merger or acquisition. Steve Trautman’s certified consultants have extensive experience with this process and will be able to guide your leadership team, helping them accurately identify all of the challenges that need to be solved.

Possible challenges include:

  • How are we going to manage budgets?
  • Who will oversee project management?
  • How are we hoping to prioritize our projects?
  • How will we organize employee scheduling?
  • How are we going to transition our internal customers?
  • How are we going to handle security?
  • How should we change business architecture and design?


Step 2: Decide On A Solution To Merger & Acquisition Challenges

After challenges have been identified, our consultants will help merger leaders identify possible solutions to these problems. These solutions will come from both companies. 

Next, we’ll give your company space to decide which solutions you like best — company A’s method, company B’s solution, or a mixture of the two?

Step 3: Identify An Expert Who Can Teach The Solution

Once a challenge has been paired with a solution, it’s time to make sure that both the head company and the acquired company each begin using the new procedure.

This requires teaching your employees how to do the new task, which is why the next step is to identify an expert on the solution, who can pass their knowledge on to the rest of the company. 

Depending on the solution, your expert may come from the head company, or be one of the new hires acquired during the merger. 

Once an expert has been chosen for a particular solution, the Steve Trautman Knowledge Transfer process begins.

Steve Trautman Co.’s Talent Risk Management In Action

[link to mergers and acquisition blog post or case study]

Knowledge Transfer For Mergers And Acquisitions

Our knowledge transfer process (KT) has developed over 2 decades of helping businesses transition knowledge from one company to another during an acquisition or merger.

Before knowledge transfer can begin, two things need to be in place:

  1. Your expert; an employee or contractor with either the head company or the acquired company, who knows how to do the chosen procedure.
  2. A group of apprentices; these are the people in your organization who need to know how to complete the new procedure. 

Step 1: Identify & Prioritize Knowledge Areas

Our certified consultants will begin the knowledge transfer with a comprehensive Q&A session, where they sit down with your expert and identify the procedures and skills that need to be taught.

Once identified, each of these skills will be entered into our specialized database, called the Knowledge Silo Matrix (KSM). The KSM will help our consultants and your expert decide the order in which skills will be taught to the apprentices. 

Step 2: Divide Skills Into Teachable Tasks

Transferring a skill can be intimidating for both the expert and their apprentices. After all, skills often require a massive amount of knowledge and practice in order to perform them properly.

At Steve Trautman, we don’t think knowledge transfer needs to be intimidating, which is why we’ve developed another database called the Skill Development Plan (SDP).

Using the SDP, our certified consultants will help your expert divide the skills in the Knowledge Silo Matrix into small, easy to digest tasks — within the context of the knowledge transfer, “tasks” are specific duties that can be taught to apprentices within one hour. This makes learning much less intimidating for the apprentices. 

We will also use the SDP to strategically schedule every hour required to transfer all the skills listed in the Knowledge Silo Matrix. This ensures that the expert has time to teach the apprentices everything they need to know within the deadlines of the company merger.

Step 3: Train Experts How To Transfer Knowledge Effectively

We often find companies throwing their expert into a room of apprentices and expecting that because the expert knows how to do something, they will also know how to share that knowledge with others. 

The reality is that teaching is itself a skill and many experts don’t have the training or tools to pass their knowledge on to others. 

At Steve Trautman Co., we don’t expect your experts to also be teachers. Which is why we dedicate an entire step of the knowledge transfer process to teaching your experts how to transfer their skills to others. 

Our certified consultants have decades of experience teaching merger experts how to do knowledge transfer. We will ensure that your people have the tools they need to effectively teach their apprentices.

Step 4: Transfer Knowledge

By this point in the process, your experts will have:

  • Quantified their skills in the Knowledge Silo Matrix.
  • Broken these skills down into easy-to-teach tasks using the Skill Development Plan.
  • Received the tools and techniques necessary to teach their apprentices.

Now the official knowledge transfer can begin! 

Because knowledge transfer needs to occur in the middle of a company merger, there probably won’t be time for long sit-down classes. These skills need to be transferred in real-time and on the job. 

This means knowledge transfer will look different for each expert, depending on the procedures they are teaching and the role they play in the merger. 

While this may sound stressful and hectic, don’t worry. Our certified consultants have the tools and experience necessary to streamline knowledge transfer and get your merger done on schedule. We will quickly customize the method of transferring knowledge for each expert and their unique situation. 

Step 5: Test & Measure Knowledge Transfer 

Once the Skill Development Plan has been completed, we will administer a knowledge transfer test. This test will gauge the success of the knowledge transfer by identifying which areas may need to be taught again and whether or not the apprentices can perform tasks independently. 

Steve Trautman Co.’s Knowledge Transfer In Action

Talent Risk Management & Knowledge Transfer Tools

As our client, you will have access to a suite of tools that we have spent over 25 years refining for business mergers and acquisitions. We have used these tools to successfully mitigate talent risk and transfer knowledge from thousands of industry experts to their successors. 

  • Knowledge Silo Matrix: identifies at-risk knowledge areas for your team and company and helps determine possible successors. 
  • Skill Development Plans: breaks down your experts’ tacit industry knowledge into tangible skills that can be taught and learned in one hour. 
  • Knowledge Transfer Workshop: teaches your experts how to effectively teach their knowledge to successors.
  • Knowledge Transfer Test Questions: measure knowledge transfer progress and confirm that successors have the ability to perform tasks independently.

Why Steve Trautman Co. Is The Knowledge-Management Solution Your Company Needs

Steve Trautman Co. has over 25 years of demonstrated knowledge transfer experience and we have helped numerous companies recover from mishandled acquisitions and mergers. When you partner with our company, you are gaining access to industry-leading resources and talent. 

Nothing surprises our team. No merger is too difficult and no acquisition is too complex. For effective knowledge transfer solutions that will help you complete your merger on schedule, look no further than Steve Trautman Company and contact us today.