Our employees, like those of many other companies, are quite accustomed to various integrations. We have already completed several processes, and next, we are looking at integrating HRG and GBT. Once again, we will be looking at property and technology, describing processes and making comparisons. What will we be using in the future, what is good and what can we let go of? You need to consider and decide on a number of things.
Regardless of which side of the integration you are on, it inevitably means a change in many ways to people, to us as employees. Perhaps a physical relocation, a new commute. How do I get there, what means of transport do I use? Will I have a new supervisor? Tools and ways of working may change, and you will have new colleagues. Strangers, possibly from an entirely different working environment and corporate culture.
Here, you need to start looking at the principles of change leadership: how to make people work towards a common goal, how to form a new, common company culture, how to alleviate fear, and how to learn to appreciate diversity and turn it into a strength.
These things are far from simple and do not happen on their own or overnight. Where should you start? Do you invite the entire personnel in one place, have them listen to a pep talk and ask each one of them describe their spirit animal in a group game? I would suggest involving an event professional to brainstorm different alternatives.
Success in human integration requires familiarisation, understanding, approval and appreciation. These can be promoted by working together. Together with an event professional, you can design a programme on how the integration and its goals will be taken into account in all personnel events. Is an extra programme required for the integration? In my opinion, yes.
Something that gets the people talking, laughing and succeeding. What could it be? When I was trying to come up with something, I first felt that everything was “meh”, last season, done that, boring. And absolutely no group games! I was under enormous pressure to think of something fun and, more importantly, to succeed at it. Luckily, we know how to do this, and a plan was soon hatched. I'll keep it a secret for now, however, to maintain an element of surprise for our own people.
I am thinking about the added value that we, as event creators, can offer our clients in similar situations. As event professionals, we can come up with ideas, small things that support reaching our goals. Develop something to promote the integration, even at unanticipated moments. And, best of all, we can take care of the arrangements. When arranging events for your own personnel, and especially when dealing with challenges related to integration, it is very important that I, as the buyer, can focus on people and activities, not the practical arrangements.
The participant experience and its significance are popular topics of discussion. If the participant does not have a positive experience, they will not show up the next time. It is hard to think of anything more important than the participant experience of personnel events arranged as part of an integration process. Events that send the wrong message can further divide people into two groups. Take planning seriously and use experts to assist you. Focus on the most important part, the people, and let us handle the arrangements.
Director, Meetings and events
American Express Global Business Travel