Integration with people and culture first

A large Finnish FMCG company acquired a small but growing start-up to catalyze its growth ambition in a new market segment. In the integration process, a strong focus on “people and culture” was deemed crucial to create a transparent and open environment for building trust right at the start of the joint journey.

Challenge

There are marked differences in the ways of working between an established corporate firm and a young entrepreneurial start-up. A successful integration must ensure that the start-up’s fast, agile, brave and innovative mindset is preserved and nurtured in the new entity.

Brave the future

Using August’s approach in people and culture work, diagnostics of cultural similarities and differences between the two companies started already before closing via in-depth interviews with selected key people from both organizations.

Right after the closing, the companies defined a cultural target state for the combined entity, described concrete actions to enable the target culture, and embedded them into each integration stream.

Progress of the work was tracked via regular pulse surveys to secure management attention and employee satisfaction. All this was done in parallel to the more technical integration work, creating a seamless total effort.

Impact

The focus on people and culture was key to the integration success. The acquiring company was convinced with the approach and decided to benefit from it in all future acquisitions. The acquired company appreciated the collaborative, open, and transparent manner, in which the integration was conducted and the way their concerns were listened and addressed.