HR specialists play an important role in post-merger integration. They provide advice and guidance on restructuring and staffing the newly merged organization and help with the alignment of disparate pay and grading systems, pension schemes, working time arrangements and so on.

Mergers and acquisitions are inherently risky business endeavours and the integration of two separate organizations can be very difficult, especially because of the complex people-related aspects of organizational change. For this reason, it is often argued that the human resource function should have a more strategic, central role at all stages of the merger and post-merger integration process (e.g. Towers Perrin and the Economist Intelligence Unit, 2003).

To provide guidance to HR professionals and others involved in the planning and implementation of this type of organizational change, an ‘‘Art and Science of Transformation’’ approach is proposed in this article. The need for this approach is illustrated with key learnings from a financial services sector merger that Schroeder & Schroeder consultants were involved with some years ago. The consultants had been commissioned to assist the organizational leadership and integration teams to synergize the operational strategies of both companies, deal with the technical aspects of the merger, and provide guidance on integrating two radically different corporate cultures.