Integrating Our Core Values in an Acquired Company
Human Resources Director
At Md7 we take our 6 Core Values – Integrity, Respect For The Individual, Extreme Service, Continuous Improvement, Balanced Life and Giving Back – very seriously. They are not merely posters on the wall or statements in our Employee Handbook; they represent ways of thinking and behaving that we want all Md7 employees to emulate every day. To this end, all employees receive annual Core Values training in small groups to share experiences and discuss the virtues and challenges of a work culture that embraces these tenets.
So when we purchased Lexcom in July 2015, it was imperative that the 30+ employees in Lexcom’s Seattle and Portland offices learn about and integrate our Core Values into their daily work practices as soon as possible. Cheryl Bobbitt, Director of Corporate Responsibility and myself designed a 4 hour interactive training program that incorporated the topics of Core Values, Harassment Prevention and Conflict Resolution. We sensed the Seattle and Portland offices would be receptive, warm and welcoming to this training initiative, but you’re never sure until you’re in front of the group. Having been through several mergers and acquisitions in my time (on both sides of the transaction) I knew very well the skepticism that potentially awaited us.
As it turned out, it felt like the session in the Seattle office went great, as did the program in Portland. Experienced trainers like Cheryl and I can sense when things go well (or not!) but sending anonymous and confidential post training surveys and receiving the results from all attendees would confirm or dispel any trainer impression. Our perceptions were correct – participants overwhelmingly felt the content of the training and our expertise as instructors exceeded their expectations. But the strongest positive answer was in response to the question “The training session helped me feel more connected to Md7.” 100% of the participants agreed with the statement, 70% of them stating they strongly agreed!
Working effectively in a Core Values driven organization more likely happens when experienced employees model the desired way of doing business and new employees are sought out and actively engaged in the beliefs of the organization. Posters on the wall and statements in the Employee Handbook are nice, but they don’t influence employee attitude and behavior like high quality, interactive and ongoing communication and training. It’s how we roll at Md7.