Whenever two organizations merge, it can be a challenge for the leadership teams to bring together their workplace cultures.
This was the exact situation that Vision Credit Union faced in May 2014, when two local credit unions merged to form the company.
“Because of the merger, we were really struggling with the two different cultures within the organization,” says Carolin Robinson, Manager of Risk at Vision Credit Union. “We wanted to try to bring the managers from both credit unions together, so they could bring the cultures together.”
Over the years, Carolin says the half of the organization that she came from had built up some valuable culture elements that she didn’t want to lose.
“The workplace that I came from had a strong culture with the staff,” says Carolin. “It was really just a different type of culture, and I wanted to bring some of that forward.”
The leadership team at Vision Credit Union agreed with Carolin, and found an opportunity to explore their new workplace culture further at their annual manager retreat.
“Every year, Vision Credit Union has a manager retreat for two days,” explains Carolin. “I thought this would be a good opportunity to really try to merge these managers and cultures, so they could get to know each other better.”
Carolin volunteered to help plan the retreat, and started to search for an external partner who would be able to help their managers make the most of their time together.
“Because of the merger, we were really struggling with the two different cultures within the organization. We wanted to try bringing the managers together, so they could bring the cultures together.
Carolin discovered Outback Team Building & Training, and decided to reach out for a free consultation.
“I spoke with the team at Outback, and they referred me to Lyndon,” says Carolin. “We had a few meetings with him over the phone, and Lyndon was really dedicated to making sure that we could achieve what we wanted.”
Carolin started working closely with Lyndon Friesen, the Lead Skill Development Facilitator at Outback Team Building & Training. Together with the team from Vision Credit Union, they decided on the focus of their half-day training program, Active Employee Engagement.
“We worked with Lyndon to design a program of awareness, that would help bring the managers together,” says Carolin. “We didn’t want to push too hard, because this was the first time we had done something like this. So we wanted to make sure it was informative, but didn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
As the date of the training session grew closer, Carolin couldn’t help but feel a little nervous about how the team would react to what they had planned.
“I had some trepidations going into it,” Carolin admits. “Because I knew that some of the managers here have very different attitudes about employees, and different management styles. I wasn’t sure how they were going to react.”
Despite her worries, Carolin says the program turned out to be a huge success – and one of the highlights of the retreat.
“Lyndon was amazing! He did a fabulous job,” Carolin praises. “Everyone came up to me afterwards and told me how helpful the session was, and how much they enjoyed it. People who I thought wouldn’t be engaged, were engaged. I was really impressed.”
Carolin says that the Active Employee Engagement training session really made a real difference for the branch managers who attended the retreat.
“We talked a lot about employee engagement, and the different emotions that happen when there is a big change in an organization,” says Carolin. “We talked about where people can get stuck, and how they can move on. Those parts really resonated with the managers.”
Since going back to work, Carolin says she has noticed a positive shift in their workplace culture.
“I think now, the managers are trying to communicate better with their branch staff,” says Carolin. “They’re recognizing that they weren’t the only ones affected by the merger. They’re more conscious of the fact that this was a big change for everyone.”
And while Carolin says she knows that one half-day training session can’t change everything, she is excited to see how their workplace culture can continue to grow in the future.
“Apparently, now I have to do the manager retreat every year,” Carolin laughs. “That’s how successful it was. Everyone told me that I have to plan it again. So we’re probably going to use you again next year.”
“We talked a lot about employee engagement, and the different emotions that happen when there is a big change in an organization…Those parts really resonated with the managers.
Help your team drive employee engagement with a half-day training session.