Your employees aren’t “one size fits all.” And your culture shouldn’t be, either.
Companies are joining forces in large numbers today. Mergers, acquisitions, and various joint ventures are combining skills to expand their markets, diversify their products, and increase their presence. Yet, amid the M&A process, a company’s most important asset is often strung along for the ride without being given the cultural care and attention needed. This asset? Your employees.
Incompatibility across cultures is one of the main reasons mergers fail. Blending two separate companies with their own values and customs is similar to blending a family: two groups of people with a culture of their own are expected to work together in harmony. Without clear instruction on how to do so, the results can damage the new unit. That’s why every successful M&A has one thing in common: they addressed culture head-on and have a strategy on how to effectively navigate the cultural transition.
Like anything worth creating, creating a strategy to the culture meld is complex and varied. However, creating a culture where everyone feels included is worth every step. Interested in getting started? These three steps will set you off on a journey that puts culture as a priority; not only for a successful M&A but for the benefit of your valued employees:
Step 1: Plan for the Culture Shift Ahead of Time
Teams from both companies should discuss culture before the merger is underway. What values does each firm hold? How do they typically communicate? What is important in the workplace for each company?
Having this discussion before the transition can help identify future pain points, and navigate them as smoothly as possible.
Step 2: Transition Quickly
The integration also needs to be efficient! A slow, tedious transition can increase employee turnover because of this (real or perceived!) chaos caused by the merger.
Layout the plan of transition and effective dates. Keep lines of communication clear and open. Create a forum where employees from either side can give honest feedback and questions. Not only will this allow for the transition to run smoothly, but it will also let employees know their voice is heard and their thoughts are valuable.
Step 3: Maintain Momentum
Understand that the transition from one culture to another will not happen overnight. It can be tempting for companies to slip back to the “old way” of doing things when the deadlines are looming! However, maintaining the momentum to stick with the new cultural guidelines will help everyone succeed in the long run.
Stick to your plan, pivot when necessary, and remember… employees are what keep your company thriving. Let’s provide them with the best culture possible.
Interested in getting your own company cultural assessment? Let’s Talk.