Although most employers participating in mergers and acquisitions practice e retention agreements, those that are most successful start the process early and do not only focus on monetary benefits, according to a new survey by Towers Watson, a global professional services company.

"With successful deal implementation a core priority for many companies, the focus on retention has intensified," says Mary Cianni, global leader of M&A services at Towers Watson. "In today's climate, when companies are often buying skills or relying on an acquisition's staff to meet critical sales or market share goals, the ability to retain the right people can be a make-or-break element in the deal. Companies and shareholders increasingly recognize that achieving a deal's strategic goals depends on having the right people with the right skills in the right roles.

"Clearly, there is a lot at stake. And despite widespread agreement on the importance of identifying and retaining talent, the complex nature of transactions makes the process that much more challenging for organizations — even for those companies with significant M&A experience."

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