Successful mergers are extremely difficult. The actual activity of merging isn’t too daunting, it is the people side that makes it difficult.
Just last week, on February 4th, we celebrated the one year anniversary, or Mergerversary, of the combination of Searchspring and Nextopia as one company.
Merging companies is extremely difficult. The actual activity of merging isn’t too daunting, it is the people side that makes it very difficult. The ‘tasks’ associated are just box checking exercises but humans are emotional and change is not typically embraced with open arms. Looking over the last year, it is exciting to know that we had extremely low employee churn and a very engaged and excited team that delivered.
Many companies have great intentions in merging but the clash of two cultures can be just too hard to overcome. I witnessed this in 2006 when I merged my company with another. Relying on past experiences, I knew we had to do everything possible to avoid an “us” versus “them” mentality. We had to be one team.
Here are some of the high level things we did to successfully merge:
- Protect all jobs. We stated up front that initially there would be no reductions, we had plenty of work to re-assign to people where possible.
- Combine all teams together. This allowed no one team to be dominant over a prior brand and further broke down the us/them. No one prior company was “the way” we were going to do things going forward.
- Completely rebrand the company. Even though we kept the Searchspring name (SEO reasons) we rebranded the company with a new logo and a new focus on Merchandising. We wanted to be able to say: “One company, one t-shirt”
- Launch a Mission Statement and Core Values. We stated a clear destination and how we would act to get there.
These tactics, plus so many more, are what allowed us to have our best year ever in 2020. We successfully merged on February 4th not anticipating what was about to happen six weeks later with the disruptions that Covid threw at us, and that is because of the one thing omitted from above. The team.
The leadership team at Searchspring banded together, but more importantly, the entire company came together. Managers and Team Leads not only bought into the merger but committed to delivering the best possible experience to our clients.
Successful mergers of equals are rare but having the right team in place made it successful for Searchspring and Nextopia. We look forward to delivering on the promise to Give Merchandisers Superpowers and help build out an entirely new mindset around Search and Merchandising.