Don’t Forget That the People You’re Competing Against Just May Be Your Next Hires

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Feb 7, 2017

According to Moody’s, 71 percent of corporate respondents and 86 percent of private equity investors anticipate an increase in M&A transactions in 2017. While 2016 produced 17 percent year-over-year drop in global deal values, this year is expected to bring a bounce-back in activity, with a strong focus on technology.

As new conglomerates form, spinoffs emerge, and consolidations occurs, this doesn’t just impact the stock price and email signature, but everything from your bonus plan to Friday happy hour landscape changes as well. As it is tough for an Eagles fan to root for the Cowboys when they are in NFC divisional playoff game, it can be just as emotional when your company is on either end of an acquisition.

I spent three years working in corporate strategy, focused on competitive and market intelligence. Carefully listening to Larry Ellison and Safra Katz on earnings calls, analyzing how Deltek compared with our on-premise solution for government contractors and professional service firms, and preparing our account executives to understand how update No. 9 of Workday with BlackBerry apps would impact current deals. This was 2009.

In 2017, the tech landscape is even more dynamic with the vendor landscape in constant flux.

While there is a lot of “co-opetition” in the market, it still feels very much like us versus them. When I shifted my career and left corporate strategy to join the HR side, I became even more protective of the “us.” These are our precious talents and competitive differentiators. The “us” is the heart of our success and the backbone of our company. In recruiting, the goal is to find more of these top talents who not only add to the culture but enhance it. Adding to the “us” is the purpose of recruiting and why our recruiters have requisitions.

Last year, my team hired more than 7,000 intern and new graduates into our company and a lot of that demand was driven from companies who we acquired in recent years such as Concur, SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass, and SAP SuccessFactors. These were companies that in many aspects used to be rivals. And now the “them” joined the “us” to become “we.”

Finding talent to join our 83,000 person organization is no longer a war. The more companies we acquire, the more ideas, differences, and possibilities for innovation unfold. We are not sourcing one profile to fit our one culture. With such a diverse organization there are so many more opportunities and roles to fill. So while experiencing M&A can be a messy, I invite you to embrace the challenge. Maybe this year (in which I’m speaking in San Diego BTW), more than ever, we need to embrace the “we.”


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