When companies merge, there is not a clash of civilizations, but a clash of cultures. A company may have a good strategy technically, but if there is no clarity on culture, people will behave differently in the same situations and will not be aligned. This can result in increased attrition and the number of other negative effects. Raiffeisenbank was aware of this risk and approached us with a diagnostic project to gather data for subsequent cultural integration.
The project was divided into two parts - qualitative and quantitative.
All employees had the opportunity to fill in a questionnaire where we asked them what their current culture is and what culture they would like to have after integration. It was found that although the cultures of RB and EB are different, their ideas of what the resulting culture should look like are the same. In the qualitative part of the project, we used the method of moderated focus groups to find out how certain things work and what the key characteristics of EB and RB culture are. An important element of the FG was to involve people in the process of merging. By having people from both groups meet and get to know each other, we avoided the in-group and out-group effect and the narrative that a change is bad.
The project ran from June to October 2021, and during the course of the project, partial deliverables were regularly communicated to the company.
As part of the project, we mapped the situation and helped to identify key areas that needed to be addressed. Based on the outcomes and discussions of the board, a decision was made on what the strategy for the coming year would be. An important side-effect was to involve people in the change and get them actively involved.