Acquisitions–engagement and cultural integration

Acquisitions–engagement and cultural integration

As an established health system, we have a defined culture among all of our sites, service lines, locations.  Values, vision, and leadership are well established, and well communicated.  For the most part, they are shared, respected, and there’s buy in.  Similarly, we have established polices, procedures, and practices, for the most part, throughout the organization.  However, there are certainly variations (within guardrails) at some of the acute care hospitals that are embraced, and fostered.  There is a great deal of strong history at many of our locations before we came together as a system about 20 years ago.

As we continue to grow, we are acquiring some smaller specialty practices.  The variations of polices, practices, leadership approach, cultures, values, etc., vary widely among these practices.  Many, being smaller, are not embracing the large system leadership they are now under.  A commitment was made to keep things “status quo” (for the most part) for the staff and physicians as it relates to office protocol, staff scheduling, certain benefits, pay, to name just a few.  As we are now past he initial onboarding, and wish to make some standardized changes to create efficiencies among and within practices, as many of you would expect, we are facing resistance.   What we are faced with now, are staff and docs alike are “cherry picking” what they have observed across the many practices, as well as the larger system itself.  There is going to be give and take in many scenarios, but we are having a challenge communicating this, as morale is going down, as many feel like they are getting less, even though some of their benefits and perks are “better than” their peers.

I am looking for help devising a communication plan and strategy on how to best implement and make changes…some positive, yet some that will be viewed as a negative…..for staff and docs (knowing that many of these docs were previously the business owners).


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Participant comments on Acquisitions–engagement and cultural integration

  1. We have gone through a process of integrating several hospitals into our system. I think the biggest instrument that we used was communication and transparency. We made the performance transparent. We also tried to be fair to everyone, especially vis-a-vis compensation. Alignment of incentives starts with alignment of monetary incentives. Additionally, we focused on the small things as well, such as creating uniform badges, of nurses wearing same color scrubs, everyone having same parking privileges etc.

  2. In our publically funded health care system, 4 separate hospitals merged under one administration. The new hospital rebranded – new uniform badges, scrubs as mentioned by igrigorov. To further integrate, the various clinical services were redistributed to the component sites / campuses of the new mega-hospital e.g. Thoracic Surgery was amalgamated at one site, the Trauma Centre at one site. Well over 10 years after the merger, the individual hospitals’ culture still remain somewhat.

  3. I agree with the comments about transparency. We have also found recently that the earlier we share information the better, it has helped build trust. Our organization still carries institutional memory from an “acquisition gone bad” where the staff did not feel treated fairly. However, I liked the comments above about how separate cultures can still co-exist after an acquisition.

  4. Again, uniformity is a tool of transparency
    Salaries should be same, uniforms should be the same and parking to all or none.

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