The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Acquisition: how do you successfully integrate corporate cultures?

One of the biggest challenges related to acquisitions is how to integrate company cultures. In fact, this is a key phase that will determine the success and sustainability of your acquisition. It’s a process that relies on a human exchange when you explain the vision you have for the new organization and what you value in your staff. The success of cultural integration will also depend on how much you encourage your teams to be autonomous. Manon Poirier, President and CEO of the Ordre des CRHA.

What is cultural integration?

Before getting into culture integration, it’s a good idea to define what corporate culture is. Corporate culture basically boils down to the company’s personality. A company is defined on a day-to-day basis by the behaviour of its employees, its leadership style, its existing policies, the history of the company… When it comes to an acquisition, you’ll be able to get an overview of the target company’s culture during the due diligence step.

Cultural integration is about creating a new synergy between two entities that have become one. This synergy will first and foremost depend on the willingness of employees to come together to work towards a single goal. It’s important to make sure the employees in the acquired company feel a sense of belonging.

Two steps to successfully integrate company cultures

According to Manon Poirier, you need to first thoroughly communicate your vision. Second, you need to make sure your teams are autonomous.

Communicating your vision

It’s important to quickly communicate your vision of the company, to explain the goal of this entity and what will be valued. Deliver this message in person in order to, among other things, answer questions employees have. You can also use traditional means of communication (email, intranet…) in addition to in-person exchanges.

Making your teams autonomous

"The companies that succeed are the ones that have made their teams autonomous."

- Manon Poirier

This is a measure of how much you trust your employees. Indeed, they’re the ones who will be carrying you into the future.

This video was produced in collaboration with Services Québec de l’Île-de-Montréal and the Ministère de l’Économie, des Sciences et de l’Innovation as part of the Acquistion initiative, co-presented by Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Osler Lawyers.

Sources:
La culture organisationnelle en contexte d’acquisition, CRHA
Acquisition et intégration : perspective RH, CRHA