The heartbeat of every successful business
I used to be the individual that didn’t care about culture in an organization. “If you did your job and everyone else did theirs, then why do we have to be culturally aligned?” I will tell you that over the last few years, I’ve seen first hand what culture can do inside a business. A difficult one to tackle is when you bring multiple companies together during M&A deals.
Culture in business refers to the shared values, beliefs, behaviors, and practices that shape the way people within an organization interact with one another and approach their work. It includes the company’s mission, vision, and strategic goals, as well as the attitudes and behaviors of its employees, leaders, and stakeholders. Culture can be thought of as the “personality” of the organization, and it plays a critical role in shaping the overall performance and success of the business.
So, is there any way to do it properly?
Before making any changes, it’s important to understand the culture of each company you are acquiring. Conduct cultural assessments to identify any differences or similarities between the organizations.
Once you have a clear understanding of the cultures of each company, identify the common values, behaviors, and practices that should be shared across all of them. This will help to create a shared identity and purpose.
Communicate the common culture to all employees of the newly merged organization. Make sure they understand the values, behaviors, and practices that are important to the new company.
Develop a plan for how to integrate the cultures of each company. This plan should include training programs, workshops, and other activities designed to promote collaboration and build trust between employees from different organizations. There are companies out there that have culture universities, which goes to show you how much they value proper integration.
Involve employees from all companies in the cultural integration process. This can include forming cross-functional teams to work on specific integration initiatives or involving employees in focus groups and surveys to gather feedback on the integration process.
Monitor the progress of the cultural integration plan and be prepared to adjust the plan as needed. Cultural integration is an ongoing process, and it may take time to fully align the cultures of multiple companies.
What happens when culture isn’t aligned? Toxicity most frequently. What happens when it’s too late though?
How do you combat toxicity?
Encourage open communication and create a safe space for employees to share their concerns and perspectives. This can help to build trust and reduce misunderstandings that can lead to toxic behaviors.
Provide cultural awareness training to help employees understand and appreciate the differences between cultures. This can help to reduce biases and promote a more inclusive workplace culture.
Address toxic behaviors quickly and effectively, using a combination of coaching, mentoring, and disciplinary actions as needed. Make it clear that toxic behaviors will not be tolerated and reinforce the importance of respectful and collaborative behaviors.
Create a shared vision and values for the newly merged organization that are inclusive and aligned with the cultures of both companies. This can help to create a shared sense of purpose and promote a positive and collaborative culture.
Foster relationships between employees from different cultures through cross-functional teams, mentoring, and cultural exchange programs. This can help to build trust and promote understanding between employees from different backgrounds.
Leaders should model positive behaviors and promote a culture of inclusivity and collaboration. They should also be willing to listen to employee feedback and make changes as needed to address toxic behaviors.
Understanding and defining company culture is tricky. You need to understand your staff and how they function and then understand your business and how you want it to function.
A strong company culture is characterized by a shared sense of purpose, a commitment to excellence, and a focus on collaboration and innovation. It fosters a sense of belonging and engagement among employees, which can lead to greater job satisfaction, retention, and productivity. On the other hand, a toxic or negative culture can lead to low morale, high turnover, and poor performance.
Culture is not something that can be easily changed or controlled, but it can be intentionally shaped and managed through a variety of strategies, such as leadership development, communication, and recognition and rewards programs. By actively cultivating a positive and supportive culture, businesses can create a strong foundation for long-term success and growth.