The integration of two companies can be tough at the best of times, but when the job market is tight there are some specific things to look out for. These are the factors that management needs to keep their eyes open and skills sharp for.

A lot of integrations fall apart or are not accretive. Most of the time I think this happens because of two straight forward reasons:

First management and the subsequent teams involved (from the experienced and tenured to those fresh in the door) are unclear and unaligned in their expectations. Secondly there is an underlying and pervasive lack of candour.

These problems are amplified in a market where it is tough to find the talent necessary to execute your business model and plan. The big challenge is obviously not being able to afford to lose any people, in particular if they are the right people. A tight market breeds competition and offers to drop the company line and go elsewhere become tempting if management is unable to keep alignment with an organization.

The flip side to this is that you have to work with what you have. And as any great management team will tell you, when you make something work you attract more talent.

Attracting the right people in a tight job market makes it even tougher on your competition as the real “battlefield” is in the attraction and retention of great people. People are inevitably what makes a company great.

So how do you do this? First, you need: Candour – the ability for everyone to respectfully speak their mind and critique everything. If you have this you can create the second thing you need: Alignment – everyone working toward the same goal for the same reason.

Once you have this you can focus on the needs of your people and they know it will be authentic. The needs of people in an organization are

    1.) The basics – a decent wage.

    2.) Autonomy – freedom to make decisions that count.

    3.) Mastery – an environment to hone their skills.

    4.) Purpose – knowing that what each employee does have an effect on where the company is going.

Do this and your integration in a tight job market will become a strategic advantage for your organization. For more insight on this see Sustainable Startup