In the midst of a pandemic, Aruba acquired Silver Peak, an SD-WAN company headquartered in Santa Clara, CA. Acquisitions can be tricky as it is, without the added stress of being remote. If done correctly, acquisitions allow for more resources and an even larger family of people to work with. If executed incorrectly, there are many things that could go wrong, with employee dissatisfaction being at the heart of it.
So how did Aruba and Silver Peak work together to create a successful integration post-acquisition? Well, it started with culture integration.
Ask Questions and Listen
Taking the time to understand each other’s cultures was the most important step in the process. We knew that acquiring a company, doing a simple introduction in a work meeting, and then continuing on business as usual wasn’t going to be enough.
In our first All Hands after the acquisition, we spent most of the time having people from both Aruba and Silver Peak explain what the respective company cultures are like, how they would define them, and what our companies mean to us. We all took the time to get to know one another, rather than just focusing on the work that needed to be done.
Find Common Ground
After hearing what our respective cultures meant to us, we could easily start to see where there was overlap and common ground. When describing our cultures, the same words were used from both companies — “family, fun, collaboration, working together to get things done.” You could hear the passion in everyone’s voice when they were talking about their company and culture.
Finding the common ground made us realize the similarities that we have. Rather than seeing each other as two separate companies, Aruba and Silver Peak, we started to see each other for what we actually are… PEOPLE…who now happen to work for the same company.
Integrating the Two Companies
The key to a successful acquisition isn’t to acquire a company and then continue to operate separately. Therefore, after taking the time to understand one another’s cultures, we started integrating the two companies to become one team. Aruba and Silver Peak meetings started to join together because we wanted to ensure that we didn’t have two teams working independently.
Beyond working together, we also continued to take the time to get to know one another on a personal level. A couple weeks ago, Marketing did a virtual escape room game where everyone was broken up into separate teams with Aruba and Silver Peak members on each team. These team bonding events made the teams feel more comfortable working together. And we realized that we could have fun together as people first, versus just being co-workers.
While our acquisition is still less than a year old, Aruba and Silver Peak integration is off to a successful start because we have taken the time to learn about each other and our company cultures. The acquisition and the steps thereafter were not just about the bottom line. It was about extending our family, learning from each other, and ultimately growing together to become more successful as a joint team.
Click here to read more from my culture series.