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Convergence to a common corporate culture after a merger

corporate culture digital natives merger

The question:

How to create a new group culture and harmonize HR processes for a successful merger?

The client’s starting point

  • Merger of two digital marketing agencies with different DNA and practices
  • Expansion from 100 to 1000 employees spread over Europe (UK, Germany & France)
  • Challenges to define a new common culture and harmonize HR processes

Akoya Consulting’s response

  • Audit of corporate cultures across 3 main European entities
  • Support in defining a common culture
  • Harmonization of existing HR processes following the merger of two agencies

The whole story


Our client, an international digital marketing group that was born from a recent merger between two agencies of different sizes and cultures, wished to focus on the human factor in order to make this merger a success. The need was twofold: to converge towards a new common culture and to harmonize the main HR processes of the two companies of different sizes and cultures (a Parisian agency with about 100 employees vs. a network of 900 employees in 17 countries, including 3 main European offices).

Firstly, we conducted a diagnosis of existing HR cultures and processes through focus groups with employees of the 4 European flagship offices, completed by a survey of the entire group. This revealed common characteristics (collaborative work methods, customer orientation, strong employee commitment) as well as points of divergence specific to each entity (disruptive choices vs. continuity in customer positioning, choice of versatility vs. expertise, etc.).

Based on this diagnosis, the group’s leaders wanted to converge towards a new common culture which required some adaptations to the habits and convictions of each entity. We also assisted them in communicating this decision to all employees by bringing the newly defined values and target behaviors to life through an action plan that was rolled out to employees and managers throughout the year.

Secondly, we supported the Human Resources department in harmonizing existing HR processes with particular emphasis on Talent management in order to make the merger a reality through common recruitment and development paths. Using a similar approach, we worked from a diagnosis of the common points and specificities of the main entities to define a vision of Talent management and to translate it into ambitious processes and tools, in line with the group’s growth and new momentum.