Company culture during an acquisition

Ryan Posey, HSI Sensing

Since every company is different, each company is going to have a different experience when making an acquisition. But one of my main considerations with the recent acquisition of Genisco (in San Diego) by HSI Sensing will be applicable in a lot of situations.

In order to make the transition smooth for Genisco as well as for HSI Sensing, I had to be very aware of the similarities and differences in culture for each group. Paying attention to that—and sharing what we can—has helped us work closely with the leadership at Genisco.

Before the acquisition, Genisco’s culture was similar to ours from a few years prior to that. There were few resources being funneled into sales, which made growth somewhat stagnant.

Now, I try to share with Genisco in a way that benefits both groups: I’m common to both sides, and so are our accounting, IT, and HR departments. I go out there face-to-face every other month, and while it may not be necessary from a business standpoint, I think it’s very important for developing personal connections over there.

Sometimes, I’ll take other HSI team members with me to share expertise. I’ve taken my IT manager and my assistant out, and my operations manager coaches and mentors staff when we go to San Diego.

We also bring their leadership out to Oklahoma City for our Christmas party and strategic meetings. As I lead the strategy of our company, I’m continually making decisions considering how they’ll affect both sides.

At the same time, I try to protect the things that make Genisco’s culture unique. Their happy hour, for example, is a really important team-building time. Some of their best ideas come out of that time. So while that’s not as common a practice in Oklahoma City, when I’m out visiting them I make sure I connect with them on their own terms.

Any time you make an acquisition, there will be a number of changes large and small that are specific to that certain situation. In every acquisition, though, you’ll need to somehow mesh the cultures of two different work places. For us, it’s looked like sharing leadership and expertise while respecting cultural differences. What would it look like for your company?

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