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Entrepreneurs Panel

Steve Purdham
Jeremy Roberts
Tony Caldeira
Laura Tenison
Julie Meyer
Jennie Johnson
David Pollock
Charlie Mullins
Michael Oliver
Debbie Pierce
Richard O'Sullivan
Brian Hay

Formal Integration

David Pollock

Set up Chess in 1993 to take advantage of the deregulation of the utilities market by re selling water, gas and electricity. In 1996 the business began to specialise in telecoms – reselling telecoms services to businesses throughout the UK - and since his first acquisition in 2004 has completed at least 24 more (many of which involved purchases of client bases and assets rather than entire businesses). Highly-focused on his staff, Pollock places the Chess “culture” at the heart of his ambitious expansion plans.

Question: 

My company has quite a laid-back and sociable culture. We have recently begun integrating a smaller acquired business into our offices and the staff that have joined us are used to a much more formal working environment, to which they seem wedded. What should I do to maintain harmonious relations?

Answer: 

Integration of people is the key to making a success of an acquisition and it demands lots of communication.

Take the best of both businesses’ employee benefits and role them out across the whole business: that way everyone is happy to have the other people around and it’s a win-win. It might cost you a few quid but happy, motivated people will make it back for you many times over.

Accept that one or two of your new employees won’t make the transition. Give them a first chance, give them a second chance but don’t give them a third. You’re the boss, you set the culture and you protect it – it’s why you are successful.

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