Getting your culture right is difficult at the best of times.
But aligning your culture after a merger? That’s an even tougher challenge, yet it’s absolutely crucial to making the merger work.
It starts with understanding each legacy company’s existing culture and finding out what’s important to people. What do they want their culture to be and how do they get there? What’s it really like to work there? What’s changing? How do we keep the best of each legacy company and embrace new opportunities?
Those are just some of the questions we explored with Nucleus Financial.
After Nucleus and James Hay merged, they knew they needed to explore their existing cultures and then align and integrate them for the future.
The challenge was that each legacy company had two strong, distinct cultures of their own. They each had unique histories, their own processes, and their ways of doing things and thinking through problems.
Now, with the added cultural challenges of hybrid/remote work, they now faced yet another seismic shift in integrating their cultures to create a newer, better company together.
The challenge wasn’t just to mash them together, but to understand and craft the best of both worlds into something new and unique.
Every cultural engagement starts with understanding where you are and where you want to go. That’s not just a top-down view from leaders and managers, but it also needs to include employees.
Firstly, we met with leaders to understand their perspective and understanding of their culture, where they were coming from and what was important to them.
With that in mind, we then reached out to the entire company with our cultural diagnostic. We explored what employees perceived their company’s current culture to be and what they desired. We then mapped these gaps across the legacy companies to create a picture of where people wanted to go together.
To add depth and understanding, we used digital ethnography and focus groups to give us a 360-degree view of what was happening on the ground. Our cultural anthropologist attended company-wide events, team meetings and worked with employees to understand the ins-and-outs of their worlds of work in practice.
Our 360-degree approach to culture and insights gave us both a high-level and bottom-up perspective, presenting a comprehensive picture of the legacy companies’ culture and employees’ desired culture for the new Nucleus.
The added ethnographic approach provided extra texture and detail to capture exactly how different cultural dimensions worked in practice. It allowed us to spot where and when processes, platforms and tools sometimes went awry, giving us clear direction for quick wins and significant, longer-term changes needed to unite the company.
With the range of insight gathered, we then put our communications and cultural expertise to work, developing practical messages and activations, creating opportunities and addressing blockers to help foster and cultivate the new company’s culture.