Merging Two Corporate Cultures
In early May 2018, I announced some exciting changes to CultureIQ: We merged with CEB’s Workforce Surveys & Analytics (WS&A) division, which was acquired from Gartner with the financial support of the private equity firm ParkerGale Capital.
Our newly joined team has been hard at work since then. We’re moving full steam ahead towards our shared mission of helping companies make culture a competitive advantage.
To help pave the way, keeping our own company culture healthy and strong remains a top priority. Here are some ways we’re prioritizing our culture throughout our merger — and beyond.
Recognize Your Differences And Your Similarities
Needless to say, merging companies required merging two cultures. We’ve worked hard to get to know each other. Recognizing our differences was a good place to start.
Before the merger, CultureIQ was five-year-old company with a 22-person team. Given our modest size I had the opportunity to interview every candidate hired at CultureIQ. Our team all worked together in one office in New York City, so we were a very tight knit group. The team brings the wear-all-hats approach to solving problems that our experience as an early stage startup has taught us.
Merging with WS&A, which has recently celebrated its 50th birthday, added four offices and 67 additional people, about 20 of which are remote. The team brings a powerful infrastructure and a wealth of data and expertise from its 50 years in the field.
Together, we’ve also spent time discovering our similarities. We have a similar company mission: To help organizations use culture as a competitive advantage. We both bring a high-touch, high-tech approach to helping our customers. And we share our core values.
Recognizing our differences and similarities has helped employees get to know each other through the merger.
Request Feedback Regularly
As soon as we merged companies, we sent out a core CultureIQ survey to all employees.
The survey asked how employees felt about the merger and its reasons for happening. It also shared our core values and asked for feedback on each. If our values align, everything else falls into place. We wanted to ensure that was the case.
Here are some sample questions a survey like this would ask:
- Would you agree or disagree with this statement: I understand the business rationale for merging these two companies.
- Would you agree or disagree with this statement: I am excited by the potential of these combined businesses.
- Would you agree or disagree with this statement: Leadership is doing a good job of keeping me informed about the merger.
- How would you describe your feelings about the merger when you were first informed of the news?
- How would you describe your current feelings about the merger?
- Would you like to see our current company values as part of the combined organization?
- Please describe any additional values you’d most like to see become part of our combined organization.
- What excites you most about bringing together these two companies?
- What is your greatest concern about the merger that we should be aware of?
Afterwards, I immediately hosted a global town hall. We talked about the goals for the merger and those shared company values.
We will continue using CultureIQ surveys to strengthen our own culture. We will also continue delivering survey results to our team, communicating our action plan, and checking in on progress.
Align Leadership Off the Bat
Within 48 hours of the merger, I held a leadership transition team meeting. The nine participating leaders come from both companies. Together, we are focused on ensuring a successful integration of customers, teams, product and culture.
We hosted a two-day meeting with one goal in mind, to help CultureIQ’s leaders execute on this transition. The first day was highly qualitative. We focused on getting to know each other and building trust. The second day was more strategic. We set the building blocks of our plan, called “One Company,” to integrate our companies. The One Company plan has five parts:
- One common client experience
- One platform
- One energizing employee experience
- One common infrastructure
- One external message
Finally, we’ve set up a global culture committee. Each office has a culture committee made up of a rotating cross section of employees. This approach ensures we’re hearing all our employees across the world.
We’re also working on an all-employee offsite, which will take place in October. With so many new offices and employees across the world, employees should have a chance to gather together in person.
Maintaining a strong company culture is an ongoing process. With the merger, we’re paying extra attention to ours. Above all else, we want to ensure that CultureIQ’s culture remains a competitive advantage throughout our period of change.