Post-Acquisition Culture Clash Slowing Production, Stifling Collaboration & Trust
I received a lot of positive feedback on the training in the past days, including both managers and employees. The best training I have ever seen in my 20 years at this company.” - Senior Business Leader who sponsored the trainings
This innovator and leading manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and technology contacted LCW to deploy cultural diversity training for its managers and non-exempt employees on a tight timeline.
WHY THIS, WHY NOW?
A few years after completing an acquisition, the parent company found that one of its manufacturing facilities was experiencing some challenges:
- Tensions manifested among particular groups at the facility, particularly among different Asian communities represented Frustration mounted between long-term employees and newer hires, brought on to help with the company’s growth
- Miscommunication hindered the fast-paced, goal-oriented, and results-driven environment they had long been a part of the facility’s culture
- Managers needed tools for working with diverse populations and giving constructive criticism to non-performers
- Company leaders felt strongly that any solutions must not compromise the facility’s speed of execution
The company identified a small window to make a change, and gave itself a 3 week time frame to get everyone on the right track.
HOW TO BRIDGE SO MANY GAPS IN SUCH A SHORT TIME?
Knowing LCW’s reputation for results, the company’s HR Business Partner contacted LCW to inquire about diversity training from LCW. After an initial discovery conversation, LCW acted quickly, and through:
- One half-day of LCW-led focus groups with business leaders,
- One carefully crafted day of on-site interviews with a diverse cross-section of non-exempt and exempt employees, and
- An assessment of pre-existing tools in LCW’s solutions library, as well as frameworks currently being used at the facility, which could be leveraged to help achieve the greatest impact in the shortest timeframe
LCW was able to find the root cause of the problems and design a solution for managers and for non-exempt employees that centered around three themes: trust, transparency, and teamwork. The foundation of the design was our Navigating Cultures solution for non-exempt employees and our Inclusive Leadership modules for those managing a diverse workforce. Materials from our core library were tailored to address the needs uncovered.
OUTCOMES FOR MANAGER TRAINING PARTICIPANTS
- Developed a deeper understanding of culture and its impact on the managers’ values, behaviors, and relationships
- Identified tools and frameworks for use in exploring cultural differences in their roles and teams
- Shared “best practices” and “better practices” around building bridges with the facility’s culturally diverse workforce
- Practiced ways to support a culture of “teamwork”, “trust”, and “transparency” among teams
- Identified behaviors that managers of diverse teams will typically engage in, which undermine best intentions for “teamwork,” “trust” and “transparency”
- Made commitments to engage and support high performance on their diverse teams in the coming year
OUTCOMES FOR NON-EXEMPT TRAINING PARTICIPANTS
- Identified the coming year as one that would focus on the need for greater collaboration on teams and throughout the facility
- Understood how ‘teamwork’, ‘trust’, and ‘transparency’ can be viewed differently depending on one’s own background and perspective
- Practiced building a common vision for ‘trust’, ‘teamwork’ and ‘transparency’ behaviors that will help make their facility a great place to work for everyone
KEYS TO SUCCESS
LCW adapted its existing suite of learning solutions in order to highlight several case studies and scenarios that strongly resonated with the participants’ own work environment. The training design was also anchored to pre-existing company structures: multilingual company ‘teamwork’ posters were incorporated, sessions were folded into already scheduled meeting times and were held in a familiar setting, the session title for non-exempts was changed to incorporate existing company initiatives and thus position the training in a more familiar way, and business leaders kicked off each session with messages that tied the sessions to existing business goals.
HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED?
As a result of the solution and process that LCW instituted:
- The true problems at the root of miscommunication and cross-cultural disconnect were uncovered, allowing the company an opportunity to address them and improve business operations
- Leadership had solid data to inform opportunities and approaches to handling their increasingly multicultural environment
- They had a richer set of tools for discussing the pros and cons of an English-only language policy they were considering prior to engaging LCW, including how to implement a more respectful and effective policy if they chose to do so
- Non-exempt employees and leadership gained a common vocabulary for discussing performance and gained tools to navigate cultural differences in communication, work style, leadership style, etc.
- Some leaders realized they tended to reward only one type of performance, and were then able to address the cultural bias inherent in some of their processes and institute more transparent performance and teamwork goals
- Additional metrics were put in place that creatively reinforced cross-cultural teambuilding, and more systemic ways of developing and rewarding people from backgrounds different from their own
- Non-exempt employees were engaged in a way that boosted morale