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Faces of HR: Rakuten’s Sandeep Chanana’s 3 HR hacks to a seamless M&A deal



Talent Management Asia: Asia's leading HR strategy conference returns for its seventh year.
Unmissable opportunity to attend the go-to conference for HR leaders - debate key talent management challenges and share insights on future people strategy. Register now »

With merger and acquisition (M&A) cases on the rise, there is an impending business need for HR to gain a strong foothold throughout the process.

Priya Veeriah speaks to Sandeep Chanana, APAC HR Business Partner at Rakuten to uncover three HR hacks that will help in a seamless transition pre, post and during M&A journeys.

Q. How did you get into a niche area of HR M&A? Do you enjoy it?

My initial acquaintance with the HR M&A role came in while I was part of a project team tasked to setup IBM Bangladesh. Then I was lucky to move into a core HR M&A role with Cognizant, wherein I was part of multiple large scale global acquisitions. Lastly, I was involved in setting up and leading HR for the Rakuten India offshore centre which was again an outcome of a “Build – Operate – Transfer” transition.

Q. What are the three HR hacks that will make the HR aspect of an M&A deal smooth?

There is no certain hack to getting an M&A HR integration right. Multiple factors add on to it being more successful such as below:

Hack 1:

Culture fitment 

This is a key reason for an unsuccessful HR M&A integration and hence the most critical. It is important to study the organisation, leadership styles, managerial structures, employee reviews, and trying to get a deeper understanding on how the organisation runs itself daily. Make efforts to speak to employees, leadership, and support staff to understand little nuances that can go long way in helping establish a transformation path.

Hack 2:

Correct due diligence and an effective integration project plan

The initial phase involves studying and analysing the complete data of the organisation broken down into three main facets: people, process and systems.

This will help define the integration journey.

Hack 3:

Stakeholder management

Effective communication plays a really important role here and it is paramount that all concerned stakeholders are informed of the “why”, “what next” and “how” at the right time. Setting expectations is essential to avoid overload on yourself as well.

Q. What is one missing out on if they fail to attend your session at Talent Management Asia?

Singapore is on the brink of getting into the M&A zone with few noteworthy deals that have happened in the recent past and as HR professionals, change management will be a future key skill expected of us. What better than an experience in the M&A field to actually figure that out. I am here to share my past experiences and help establish a career track for HR professionals.


The team at Human Resources invites you join Talent Management Asia this March and April 2019. Visit the event website to check out the stellar speaker list and reserve your seat: www.talentmanagement.asia.

Or you can simply drop us an email at event.info@humanresourcesonline.net.

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Talent Management Asia: Asia's leading HR strategy conference returns for its seventh year.
Unmissable opportunity to attend the go-to conference for HR leaders - debate key talent management challenges and share insights on future people strategy. Register now »

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