How to Effectively Use Culture to Integrate a New Acquisition

February 16, 2023 Jamie Notter

This is the first post in a new series of case studies that showcase several different ways in which we have worked with a client to solve a particular presenting culture issue.  

Tech Company Uses Culture Insights to Successfully Integrate a New Acquisition


As a company with historically high levels of employee engagement, this organization was concerned when a newly acquired group in a different city was struggling. So they dove into their culture data, and then turned the engagement around. Here’s how it worked:

  • Their culture assessment revealed different cultural experiences at the acquired company compared to HQ, particularly around transparency and a focus on employee needs.
  • Upon seeing this, they immediately made a significant investment in both communications technology and good-old-fashioned plane tickets, to make sure the new company was connected and integrated into the culture.
  • A year later, the gap in those two areas had decreased 75%. This (and an upgrade of their acquisition transition process) smoothed the path for increased growth.


As a result of running the WorkXO Culture Assessment, leaders were able to pinpoint the key differences in how people at headquarters were experiencing the culture compared to the acquired company, which led to specific interventions to (a) protect parts of their culture that were essential to success, and (b) introduce new cultural capacities that would bring the new company (and future acquisitions) into the fold more effectively.

After running their culture assessment, they immediately identified two of the Culture Markers that revealed the largest difference between what employees at HQ were experiencing and what those at the new company were experiencing: Solutions, and Transparency. Solutions measures how an employer pays attention to unique user needs and anticipates changing landscapes internally and externally. Transparency measures how the employer builds trust and shares information. The company’s overall culture had evolved to be more futurist in general, but for both Solutions and Transparency, the scores leaned more traditional than any other Culture Marker. Furthermore, they leaned even more prominently toward traditionalist within the new company, compared to the scores at HQ. The company’s newly formed Culture Council dug deeper into these contradictions, and with the help of a consultant, they also teased out a more nuanced understanding of which of those contradictions needed to be more closely aligned with the company’s success drivers.

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Out of that work, they developed a clear set of cultural priorities that specifically zeroed in on these issues. This included elevating the importance of collaboration internally, which included the specific desire to maintain the “collaborative DNA” of their culture, by making sure everyone demonstrated an “unwavering commitment” to each other in the culture.

Those may sound like “feel-good” statements that lack punch, but the internal culture team didn’t stop there. They translated those higher-level priorities into a set of distinct action plans to make this culture shift a reality. For example, this company developed action steps like developing explicit programs and processes for integrating newly acquired businesses and developing a subsidy program to ensure that everyone, regardless of location, had access to the right connectivity tools to produce a more consistent level of communication and transparency. Budgets were even procured for more frequent travel of team members between locations for heightened exposure and relationship building.

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A year after the acquisition, they collected a new set of culture analytics data, and it turns out that the efforts of the Culture Council and the related plans they’ve implemented actually closed the gap between the earlier disparate experiences around both Solutions and Transparency by 75%.

This means:

  • Information is getting disseminated to all parts of the organization more consistently.
  • Remote locations are getting the kind of attention and customized experience they were previously lacking
  • Employees with the newly acquired business feel less like new kids on the block and more like part of the same team.

Now that those distractions are minimized, the entire organization can get back to building superior software for their growing client base.

More information about how PROPEL can help you solve real business problems by aligning culture with success:





Jamie Notter

Jamie is an author and growth strategist at PROPEL, where he helps leaders integrate culture, strategy, and execution to achieve breakthrough performance and impact. He brings twenty-five years of experience to his work designing culture-driven businesses, and has specialized along the way in areas like conflict resolution and generations. Jamie is also the co-author of three books—Humanize, When Millennials Take Over, and The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement—and holds a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.