Case study

Merger of two retail companies:

Food Retailer saved $8.3M by reducing unwanted employee attrition during M&A 

Key outcomes

in 27 days

reversed negative sentiment


rate of unwanted attrition kept at

over $8M

saved by retaining key employees and informal leaders


Food retail

about Company 1

12,800 employees, including 1,330 office workers. Offices in 8 states

about Company 2

1,560 employees, including 160 office workers. Office in a state



The buyer company, a leading player in the food industry, has had a history of mergers and acquisitions that didn’t go as planned. This time, the management team wanted to focus on retaining the key talents of the target company after acquisition and keep the unwanted attrition rate below 10%. As the merger was approaching, the team had to act fast and identify key employees and come with a plan on how to ensure cooperation among departments of the new company within 3 weeks. Finally, they needed a tool to track that the merger is going according to the plan. Before using Yva, they had only previously measured employee engagement through a 3rd party engagement survey, twice per year. That data had never been enough to make acquisitions successful.

Approach and Outcomes

The management team purchased the Agility & Transformation Solution as it offered the most comprehensive set of tools to keep the merger on track. With the help of collaboration analytics, the team identified informal leaders in both buyer and selling companies. The burnout evaluation of key employees is still used as a trigger for targeted retention efforts.

image (2)

Group details

The individual and group burnout graphs.

Driving change

HRBPs held general and individual meetings with informal leaders of both companies, and after cross-functional working groups of informal leaders were formed, a more collaborative environment was created for key talent. Their performance was monitored with real-time collaboration analytics for 12 weeks.

It was essential that formal and informal leaders alike supported the change and advocated for it, as they could boost employee morale and level of confidence in the new organization.


All managers and informal leaders were distributed among 4 quadrants. The upper right corner indicates readiness for change and energy, based on the Innovation Index.

Stakeholder mapping reflected the position of each manager or informal leaders on the merger as well as their influence level. The HRBPs identified three groups of employees to work with: highly influential leaders in favor of change, highly influential leaders that are neutral about change, and toxic to change formal leaders.

At the same time, the management team monitored the density of communication among different parts of the organization and the interaction between "old" and "new" units to track if the merger is going according to the plan.



With the help of, the buyer:


  1. Successfully identified 122 key employees and 14 informal leaders of the target company in 2 weeks.
  2. The management team ran 16 meetings with all informal leaders and 4 meetings with the majority of key employees in just 6 days.
  3. According to anonymous pulse surveys, the meetings led to eNPS index growth by 20 points from -15 to +5.
  4. Unwanted turnover of key talent and informal leaders within 3 months after the merger was 8% compared to 31% for the previous mergers. Thanks to lower turnover, the company saved $8,615,514.06.

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