In response to the ongoing coronavirus
outbreak and its unprecedented impact to business and employers, i4cp holds
a weekly series of standing calls to help HR leaders navigate this
On i4cp’s October 16, 2020 CHRO/HR
Strategy Action series call, HR leaders from a wide range of organizations
joined for an open discussion of organizational culture led by i4cp
Chief Research Officer Kevin Martin. Here are some of the highlights from the
Focusing early on culture is critical during a merger
/ acquisition. Several leaders on the call described recent M&A
activity and how their focus on culture was critical to the success of the
process. The comments aligned with the results of i4cp's study Avoid
Acquisition Acrimony: How to Analyze Culture Synergy Early (available to
i4cp members, who should also see i4cp's M&A Due Diligence Checklist
for HR). A key point made was the need to respect both cultures, while
noting that integration ultimately needs to occur. The way to do this is to
renovate the combined culture, keeping the best parts of the two, as prescribed
in i4cp's study Culture
Renovation: A Blueprint for Action.
What are companies doing different now regarding DEI?
Following-up further on discussion around diversity, equity, and inclusion from
last week, several call participant shared why this time will be different. For
one, there is focus on real action, not just the right-sounding words. There is
also far more candor at the leadership level, about policy and behavior.
Organizations are now better equipped, and taking more seriously, their metrics
around DEI than in the past. Many organizations are being more transparent
about many of these metrics, as well as their goals and policies, to some
extent publicly but even more so internally. And there is very strong focus to
have consistency in behavior and policy from the CEO all the way through the
Agility rules the day. We've continued to hear
a lot about the importance of agility both before and after i4cp's report in
Three A's of Organizational Agility: Reinvention Through Disruption.
Participants on the call today emphasized multiple types of agility: agility in
learning, agility in what practices they adopt, agility to be curious, and
more. These are behaviors they variously said they look for when hiring and
also try to embed in their organizational cultures. Regarding agile learning
they emphasized a focus on horizontal career growth, upskilling, and adjacent
skill development in particular.
Culture in remote, hybrid, and in-person environments.
Discussion also arose on the challenges of building and maintaining a culture
virtually. While there are many benefits to remote work, many on the call
agreed that it is easier to sense and understand an organization's culture when
in a physical environment, e.g., seeing each other, benefiting from physical
artifacts that represent the culture, etc.
This is one reason to have hybrid and flexible work options where
possible. In particular, for heavily relationship-driven cultures, it can take
longer or otherwise be harder if the organization is used to being in-person
and has had to shift to being virtual only.
In addition to this recording, please
see the i4cp Coronavirus Employer Resource Center for new research and next
practices to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.