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How can digital transformation businesses ‘acquire’ AND crucially retain top talent?

Emma Flin & Jeremy Morgan


Organisations are increasingly turning to external digital transformation specialists to add both capability and additional resources to their internal teams. Good talent in this rapidly evolving market is costly, hard to find; requires continual development to remain current; and, against the backdrop of the ‘Great Resignation’, is increasingly difficult to retain.

Fast growing and entrepreneurial digital transformation providers often undertake technically interesting projects for clients, operating in varied end markets providing great experience for their teams. In addition, they typically invest in training and ‘on the job’ development programmes to enable them to attract and retain a steady stream of ‘graduate’ talent to their organisations.

In our experience, it is the scarcity of experienced talent that is often the principal limiting factor to growth in technology services businesses. For a transformation project to be well managed, newly trained consultants require supervision from experienced colleagues. Bringing in experienced talent through acquisition is, in our experience, a really good way for a business to add new capabilities, access new markets or sometimes simply provide resource to deliver against existing opportunities.

In executing any acquisition, it is easy to focus on the financial and strategic benefits and whether the deal terms meet the requirements of selling shareholders. However, when ‘people’ are the core strategic reason to acquire, their ongoing motivation is crucial to their retention and therefore the success of the deal.

At Sovereign we spend a lot of time, from the outset, considering an acquisition from the perspective of the talent within the target organisation. “What does the deal mean for me?”

  • Will I still have a job? / Will my benefits change? - simple questions! …. but we spend months focusing on the ‘Big Picture’ for a deal. We know we are acquiring a business for its people but often an acquiring business forgets to tell them this! Until assurance has been provided on these basic points, it is difficult to concentrate on other exciting messages delivered.
  • Career opportunities - the strategic and financial benefits of combining businesses often translate into great career opportunities for individuals. We help to show them how.
  • Cultural fit - often people work for small businesses to avoid the ‘red tape’ of working in a larger organisation. To support growth, a business will need to invest in its functional capabilities, but this doesn’t need to stifle the agility and creativity of a smaller organisation. Lack of cultural alignment is often a reason why we don’t progress acquisitions highlighting its importance.

For more information about how Sovereign is supporting its portfolio businesses to acquire talent in the technology industry, please contact Emma Flin.



Julie Sieger, +44 (0)20 7340 8800 or email: