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April 06, 2021

BTOES in Financial Services Live - SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT: The Interplay of Culture and Financials in Assessing Deal Success

Courtesy of HPE's Cara Bibbiani, below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'The Interplay of Culture and Financials in Assessing Deal Success' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Summit in Financial Services Live.

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Session Information:

The Interplay of Culture and Financials in Assessing Deal Success

Learn why culture matters in maximizing return on investment, how people issues are now being considered pre-LOI, the difficulties in large corporations acquiring tiny start-ups, and how COVID has made the acquired employee experience even more complex.

Session Transcript:

Do they, and to discuss culture, to discuss mergers and acquisitions, to start to discuss impact, your financial services. So, Caribbean, he is with us. She leads global HR, mergers, and acquisitions driving, hewlett packard, enterprise target, use of M&A as a strategic growth lever to not only gain valuable IP, but also critical, new talent. She has led acquired a employee experience efforts for more than 15 acquisitions, Spain, mergers, and divestitures, including the most recent integrations of gray and Silver peak.

Kara holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, and an MBA in Global management from UCLA Anderson Kaira. What a pleasure to have you with us.

So excited about you sharing with over 2000 of our global participants, what's going on in the world of mergers and acquisitions and hewlett packard.

Thanks, joe's a really happy to be here. I'm super excited and passionate about this topic. I could really discuss it all day long, but we only have 45 minutes. So essentially, I lead the people side of mergers and acquisitions which has always been very interesting and very complex but has really come into focus in the last few years. And then after Cove Ed, you know, it's sort of just Coburn launched into high gear. So I'm going to talk about how we've traditionally thought about Deal success, and then the new way of thinking about deal success, which is, you know, spoiler alert, A lot To do with cultural integration and people elements.

But first, I wanted to just kick things off with a video from my company, HPE, and what we've been up to over the last year.

So I love that video because it just shows how we've adapted and thrived over the last year.

We were forced to accelerate our technology and the work that we do to find new ways to help customers who really needed the most, you know, they they needed to literally convert a ship into a hospital or help kids get Internet access so they could do their schoolwork. And the whole world really experienced this type of force change. And, Amanda, if you move to the next slide.

You know, whether you're a parent who's had to balance work, and homeschooling your kids, or you're a manager who's had to find new ways to help your team collaborate virtually. You know, we all made adaptations, whether we wanted to or not. And mergers and acquisitions are really like that. Generally, it's, it's forced change at the end of the day. And culture was really gaining momentum and being a factor in deal success prior to the pandemic. And you can see some of the some of the data here on this slide. But 2020 has really cemented the idea that people issues trump everything.

Corporate strategy, financial models, you name it, all of that is important, but we've really learned, I think, over the last year or the last few years, that the human element really is the most important thing.

But if we look back in time, critical success factors for deals have been very financially focused. So, you know, inappropriate or a very disciplined valuation, synergy's both revenue and cost, realizing those synergies as fast as possible.

12-Mar-15-2021-09-55-58-65-AMAnd if you just continue to read through this slide, you'll see words like, you know, execution, rapid, repeatable, and the vibe to me is really all about pushing through milestones to achieve value yesterday, really. And so, this is very, very traditional thinking, and why I believe a lot of deals historically have failed.

There's a lot missing from this list, namely, anything to do with the people, or the experience, change management, communications. I think the one thing here that's probably right on target from a people perspective is executive visibility, and that is absolutely critical to deal success. But, overall, this is a highly incomplete set of criteria, and this is what I'm, I'm working so hard to change.

So, let's look at how the landscape is changing in mergers, acquisitions.

And, first, I just wanted a level set on all the different types of corporate transactions that help companies deliver strategy. So, you know, your usual objectives are to gain tech or talent, or lately, both.

That's been the push lately to expand your footprint, or your customer base or your market share, or reduce costs to boost your bottom line. And so you're either really expanding or transforming in some way, or you're shrinking, or even exiting a segment, a country, a product line. And so our topic today is really relevant for, for many of these transactions on this slide, but I'm going to specifically focus on mergers and acquisitions. So, how to gain strength or a competitive edge or customers.

And this next slide is just a nice overview of global M&A activity in 20 20, which was a super interesting year. There was definitely a deep decline, right? As we all entered lockdown. So everyone scrambled, lots of folks paused. But then things normalized pretty quickly, and actually M&A had a super strong rebound, and that's because we saw M&A process is really go digital. Due diligence became automated and this, this happened pretty quickly, I would say, in an industry that relied a lot on face-to-face meetings.

We relied, we relied on, you know, travel.

We relied on on-site discovery, we relied on in person walk the walls, and so that, that change very, very rapidly, I was, I was quite impressed and some of the other trends we saw last year were just more antitrust regulations. So, if any of you are paying attention to the Facebook proceedings, and then culture and sustainability, I think finally got a seat at the table during deal evaluation. And that's just because we were in such uncertain times that corporate development and leaders were really looking at these things, when maybe in the past they, they would not have been.

Btog CTASo, in the center there, lots of industries were highly disrupted. And that made planning and projections for deals, pretty murky. Obviously, even my sector tech, which faired really well over the last year, was pretty volatile in terms of valuations. And it was really hard to agree upon valuations.

Then, also, just with things moving to a digital format, which I think was a good overall. We had to really stub our toes and figure all that out. You know, how do you complete due diligence, and close a deal from behind our computers. We just hadn't done that before, and I think the upside of all of that you see there on the right was just a lot of creativity all around.

So we saw lots of what we consider, non traditional deals: alliances, joint ventures, corporate venture capital.

And there were the usual, offensive moves, but a lot more defensive moves for companies really focused on survival during covitz. A lot more defensive plays last year.

What happened at my company, HPE? We followed that same decline, and that rebound pattern we started the year off really strong integrating two companies.

And actually, I remember the last time I was on a on a plane was the trip home from the Bay Area in early March last year, after welcoming ... employees to our company. And then, you know, I've been grounded ever since.

So things paused for us then. Until we really got our arms around remote M&A and how to do that, and what that looks like. But then, by summer, we were in due diligence on the silver peak acquisition, and that was my first, And everyone's first entirely virtual deal from start to finish.

So, I never met a single employee. I never got on a plane. I never had dinner with senior leaders.

But, I think, overall, it was really successful integration. I think, we managed through that pretty well. We, we definitely, over abused XOOM, like everyone else. We tried some really fun gamification tactics. We sent branded gifts to employees at home because we weren't shipping anything to their sites and figured out ways to celebrate remotely, and we just, we just adopted.

And I found on the upside, that leaders had a lot more time to jump on a webcast and get to know employees, because, like me, they weren't flying all over the world anymore. So I had a lot more access to leaders, which on a deal is super, super important, and the employees also had a lot more access to those leaders, which is also important.

And then over there on the right, we also, as a company, rolled out our edge to office program, which is about the move to hybrid work as a direct result of .... So just realizing that many folks at our company, preferred home offices and preferred that flexibility that working remotely was giving them. And so that became a highlight that we've been pushing to our acquired employees.

And I think just because I want to stay on, on HPE for a minute, before we jump to the next section, Josey, I'd love you to launch that poll that we have for folks.

So, the poll is going to get launch here and, uh, the momentarily and the question is, what percentage of HP's current market cap, let me launch?

That, comes directly from companies acquired over the last decade.

So, you can choose from one of these four options, one says, one fourth half, two thirds. Correct answer. Yes, I think we answered. So, let's just move through it. That's too funny. Look. Really smart right now, and I'm going to vote and so please do take your votes on your end, and their votes, on what percent, what market cap comes directly from companies acquire for the last decade. What percentage of comes from that? So please go ahead and take your votes. Thank you. Thank you. Oh, I see all the votes coming in here, coming through here. Another NaN. I'm going to close it.

OK, and I'm going to share the results with you, and these are wondering what they are. Yeah, 83%. Kara said that it's about two thirds. Why do you have to say about that?

I have to say, great. Everyone's awake. Yeah, so the point of this, you know, whether we had the correct answer loaded or not, the point is just that for, for my company, for Hewlett packard Enterprise, M&A is hugely important, so it's two thirds of our market cap, which is why we, me and my team, have to be very, very forward thinking about how to do it properly.

Thank you, Josie, for that.

So, this brings me to the next section which is about the work of HR M&A in maximizing roi through things like culture and people elements. But I did want to start by understanding What culture means to you, Because I know this is a big buzzword. It means a lot of different things to different people, so I would love, if you could go ahead and add your thoughts to the chat. All I'm really looking for here is how, how you define culture, and there's not really any wrong answer.

For those of you willing to, please go ahead and put your your thoughts and comments in the chat.

So for the audience, they have access via the questions box, So if you could please use the questions box and submit your question. And the with the commentary, I mean what, what culture means to you. in your organization. Your context, please go ahead and submit that question and the carry. you can continue on and that will kind of keep track of them in the background.

Perfect, OK.

So, some typical answers if you could just pop back there. Sorry, Amanda, back to the previous slide.

Typical answers there that I get are, you know, characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, a way of thinking are behaving a way of working, shared Outlook, attitudes, values, so all of those are correct. But if I were going to sum it up in a really easy way I would say. Culture is a system of values and beliefs that shape how work gets done. So that's the important part. We all kinda know what culture is out in the world, but at work and at a company it is your system of values and beliefs that shape how you, how you get work done.

Then similar, just give you a quick feedback here on some of the thoughts that people have have share here with us real quick. Manish qatari, it talks about culture being methodologies and traditions use at the workplace. Rachel Brice, discuss this culture as: sharing common values. Steve Sponseller says I think of culture as the work environment, our employees give them freedom to think big and be flexible in their work versus strict rules and work hours, et cetera.

Awesome, Those are all fabulous answers. And right on target. But, you guys can see that culture. It does not mean the same thing to every person. So, that's why it's even more important that we take a look at it.

And, Amanda, before we go to the next slide, I also just want to talk about people elements, because that might not be something you're familiar with. if you don't work in myspace, So People Elements is also pretty broad and nebulous. But it's, it's all the traditional HR stuff.

28So, how do we get them to accept their job offer? How do we organize them once they come over to our organization? How do we engage them? Inspire them, get them productive as fast as possible. Retain them in the long term, the comms, the management of change, all of that.

So now you can move to next question, Amanda, because I don't want to give the impression that financials are not important, particularly for the audience. At this conference, financials are super important, the numbers have to work on paper.

And I like this graphic, because it's kinda everything you need to think about from, from that financial perspective. But really, the way that I look at this is, corporate development is making the deal, and human resources is making the deal work. And so it's a true partnership, and you really can't have one without the other. And I think too often, folks are just looking at the elements on this slide and kind of ignoring all the rest of it. That's in play.

And the synergy slide is, I know it's an eye chart. I don't expect you to read through it, but it's just another click down into the financial considerations, But I like to flash this just because similar to that success factor slide at the beginning, it doesn't say anything about the people considerations, which are really so vital. And so, you can see, if you look through time, these are really the things that, that people were focused on and they were not at all focused on, on the people elements.

And so, let's focus on the people elements. And this is a nice overview of just some of the many things that HR is driving to bring these deals to life. So, if we take this by phase of the deal, we can start with, before the deal is signed.

So, we're really focused at this point on understanding who the company is, determining what the value proposition will be for these employees, because it's, it's really not the same for, for every group. Engineers are going to want things that consultants might not care so much about, and vice versa. And every function is completing due diligence at this stage, not just HR, but I think the HR process is really the most telling of all, because we're the ones understanding. Things like, are they paid fairly right now? Which leaders do they trust, or they competitive, or collaborative? Which benefits are most important? In the Bay Area, a lot of times, things like public transit passes are sponsored. Parking are really, really big deals, where at other companies, it's bringing your dog to work, or something as simple as Pizza Friday, You just never know. So you have to really dig in and find out those things.

So we're getting into all of that analysis around compensation and benefits and culture, which you remember is how they actually get their work done.

Then we're the ones tasked with figuring out the retention packages so what is an attractive package for a world-class engineer? And when does that payout happen to, you know, keep them with the company as long as possible?

We're also figuring out where they'll sit in the organization. Many times you want to leave these folks together and not parse them out across the company. Even though sometimes that's the advice, I do not necessarily recommend that.

And then finally, we're having lots of conversations about who the key employees are, meaning, who's mandatory for this deal to work versus nice to have. These are really, you're your doers are the ones who will get the, the key offers.

And they get their offers ahead of the general population just so that we can lock them in and make sure that the deal is going in the right direction.

Then if we look at the period between Deal signed a deal Close, this is really where we have to get them excited. And we have to start laying out a really compelling vision. So we're working on all of the rest of the offers were also diving deeper on culture, We're surveying the leadership on culture, We're formulating that Total Rewards solution. So, you know, which terms and conditions, can we, or will we grandfather? How can we harmonize a benefit that maybe we don't offer things like that?

Then we're thinking about allocating who gets the retention and how much and when. We're thinking about any folks who might need mobility services, and then we're finally, at this stage, able to meet with employees and hear directly from them, which is super important.

Then, from deal close to 81, you know, the offers actually go out. And, you know, lately we've done a really great job of getting, you know, 90 plus, 90% plus offer acceptance, which is pretty hard to do. So we're proud of that. We launch an onboarding sites. So that's their one stop shop for all their news and information and training. We do a massive roll up of everything that's changing for them, from payroll to benefits, to compliance, to IT, to travel, and we share that. So they can see the path, and then we just overcommunicate here.

And that's because that's just what works. If you don't have a lot of new information week to week, you have to put yourselves in front of employees anyway, just let them know, how they can contact you, and generally let them know that you're working hard.

If you operate in a void, I think even if you're working around the clock, employees really feel left out in the cold and so you have to be in front of them.

And then finally, between employee day one and Business day one, which we abbreviate as E D one and D D one that you see here, We're rolling out all the all the onboarding training. We're helping them transition their tools and processes.

We're setting them up with, with buddies for the first six months. We're helping them network, which is even more important in a virtual environment. Since they're not moving into a building with our employees. at this point, we're taking and answering questions left and right. And then on top of that, we are celebrating that. They, they are now employees. So I mentioned this before, Some branded merchandise videos from our CEO. This part used to be a really big party in person, and now, it's really more bringing in fun vendors for a virtual escape room or a cooking lesson, or anything really creative, really.

But I think this really highlights why the people stuff is so crucial to have a plan on a page is one thing, And I'll say corporate development always has a great plan on a page.

But to actually earn the trust of the employees. And to help them through what is really emotional change, takes a special set of skills.

On the next slide, I just wanted to dig in a little on how to retain employees in today's environment. Because it's a pretty complex collection of things, so, I don't want to lead you to believe, I only mean the C level folks first of all. So, in fact, in technology, we're usually more focused on grabbing the key folks, so those doers, than we are on on the leadership. Although, leadership is nice as well.

We know that compensation is really, really important, especially if you're talking about the Bay Area and the tech industry, but really what we find is that the role and, and the experience of that role are much more important. So, acquired employees are really, really concerned with their job titles and their job levels And the scope of the work. And then, whether whether they're reporting into someone that they respect and someone who respects them, Those things are really, really important.

And so we take our time with all of the job mapping pieces in the Org design, I have really learned. You can pay someone double what they're making now.

But at the end of the day, if you're not allowing them to do what they do best, Or you're putting them into an org structure that just doesn't work, or giving them a title, that is, not be fitting their talents, and they don't want to put it on their business card, they're going to be upset.

So we're also thinking 2 or 3 years out now, in terms of incentives and performance bonuses, and focusing a lot less on what they might make as a result of the transfer or the transaction, and that's just because we need them to really stick around and stay with the company.

On the right, there are just some things that we have been pushing, and that's that's the things that maybe those folks didn't have access to before. So for the companies that we're buying lately, this tends to be, you know, we can offer them a global salesforce. We can offer them lots of career development and support to get certifications and advanced degrees.

Screenshot (4)We have world-class lab facilities, so you really have to kind of push those things that they're gaining, then you have to push culture, and culture, and wellness. So this is really, really important for the younger workers, because they just value it so much more. I read a stat that by 2025, more than 75% of the workforce will be Millennials and Gen Z, and so we really have to be thinking differently about what motivates them. And it's really less tied to money than for previous generations. Truly, it's a lot more about social justice. It's about work-life balance, It's about meaningful work, inclusion, diversity, all those sorts of things.

Then, the last thing here is just, thinking about, perhaps, maybe not doing a full integration. So, does it make sense to have an acquisition? Be a standalone? Do we leave them to do what they're doing best and not try to shove them into our systems or our culture. There's pros and cons, obviously, to both of those models, but I don't think people are considering the standalone model quite enough.

OK, so hopefully I've hammered home the idea by now but how do we actually put all of this into practice? How do we put the people elements first?

I want to take a step back and just remember why these things are gaining momentum in the first place, why they're moving to the forefront, regardless of .... And first, first thing here, you've you've seen what happens or I've seen what happens when you try to rapid fire and integration.

There's a lot of pressure to realize the financial benefits, but it does actually backfire on you if you don't put enough careful consideration and planning into the process. Because at the end of the day, you're moving humans and humans don't really care about your, your milestones and your deadlines. They need to understand what's happening. They need to, they need to be helped with navigating uncertainty. And they eventually need to really buy in.

Then we have this idea of special sauce. And I love this term but this is, this is really all about culture as well. So what are all the different factors that come together to make a company unique? And you really need to figure out what their special sauces, those unique combinations of things that made that company successful and you know that's why you bought them and then you need to not break it.

Then the next slide, this one just really shows the emotional reality's for employees. I think coming in through an acquisition.

I talk a lot about startups because that's what HPE is acquiring these days, but startups tend to have what I would call overblown expectations and a lot of times, you know, they have inflated titles. And so just overall they're not really dealing in reality when it comes to evaluation and what they hope to get out of the deal. We, at HPE we don't buy companies at that peak of expectations for for obvious reasons. I am sure there are companies who do, but I think you will always battle a little bit of that, that, that increased expectation. And so you have to manage those expectations really closely.

And to do that, you know, it really takes leaders. It takes communication. It takes change management. So you can get your employees moving to that plateau of productivity that you see there as fast as possible.

But looking at how to actually do this. I've gone ahead and listed the old model on the left, and then the new progressive model on the right, and I won't discuss everything that's listed here, But I think the most important ones are super early engagement of HR. So corporate development really has to make sure that HR is consulted on these people elements as far back as, when they're just assessing the pipeline so long before they've submitted an offer, long before they've made any key decisions.

And then I've talked about the importance of leadership.

But, you know, in order to truly make leaders accountable, there have to be some sort of performance and rewards targets, incentives that are tied to leadership of an acquisition, otherwise the leaders, the leaders won't prioritize it.

And then, last: transparency and communication.

So I promise you that admitting that things, could be a struggle, to, to your newest employees, they will appreciate that, versus just telling them everything's great. And you have this rosy fabulous vision of how everything's going to come together. I have learned by, by not taking this advice that the more honest you are with them, the more trust and rapport that you build.

And I do have one example of how to assess culture, because people ask me this all the time. You know, how do you actually assess beliefs and behaviors in the way people get work done? And so, this is just one example. We look at different attributes of the target company, and we ask the leadership, and then we ask the employees separately, because often the answers are not the same. We ask them to map where they fall on each of these attributes. Are they, a flat organization today? Have a high risk tolerance? What about business process, or what we would call red tape?

How about customer focus? How about workplace experience?

And then, what we do is, we just map where they fall against where HPE falls in this case, and that gives us a really good sense of the similarities and the differences.

Differences aren't always bad.

I think a lot of times, we find that these smaller startups, they don't have a robust reward system, and so they actually welcome the more mature model that we have. So, if you were looking at this chart, it would look really divergent, but it's actually a good positive story. So really, this is just a guide that helps you understand where they're coming from, and what they're moving to, and then be able to identify where you need to focus your attention.

And I want to just touch on ... very quickly before we wrap up because it has made the employee experience I think even more complex than usual It's always pretty tough. And so I just have one quick slide on this.

12-Mar-15-2021-09-55-58-65-AMAnd the good news is that my job got a lot easier over the last year. So usually I am trying to persuade people, not to fear change and that they can adapt and be successful. But it's, it's a really hard pitch. For many people, People don't like change naturally. That's, that's just how it works. And so Kobe kinda changed all that. Because everyone no matter who you are or where you are was forced to change all sorts of things. And really embrace those changes because we just didn't have any other choice. So, in a way everyone has now had kind of a crash course in change management that they didn't sign up for but that has ultimately made my job a lot easier.

And then also without all the travel that we used to do as an integration team. I know I've had more more bandwidth and more time to focus on planning and on relationship building, which makes a difference for acquisitions. That's been a really unexpected benefit.

Then culture and wellness and employee experience.

These are all things people were talking about, I think there was a lot of lip service before: 20 20, but they they really learned the value of it this past year.

Then the bad news, bad news is that nothing really beats being in person. I think we all know this to be true.

We're doing our best with Zoom, and but there's really no substitute and hopefully, we'll get back to face-to-face collaborations really soon.

And then the last point, here is just that company loyalty, I think, has taken a hit. It was already on the decline.

You know, it's not like it was for my parents who stayed at companies for decades and had pensions, you know, that whole environment has changed.

But I think when you add now, that no one is really tied to a physical space anymore, and we can hire talent really from anywhere. Or this gets a lot more competitive when you are trying to keep acquired employees.

So, let's just do a really quick wrap up, and then we can open it up for questions. I wanted to just end by pulling out the key themes here and really beat you over the head with them, really. Make sure you are, you were listening.

So, the people elements really increase ROI period. That's, that's just something I hope that you, that you got from this.

You will have more revenue, more opportunities, and more long-term value if you focus on culture, if you focus on experience, truly.

But in order to do that, you have to focus on it early and not make it an afterthought following all the decision making in the deal signing.

So, this means that corporate development really has to get HR involved as early as possible.

Leaders have to be accountable, I was just talking about this and, you know, not just for driving a sales plan or an integration plan but for for getting to know their newest employees and for providing them with a really compelling vision. And for showing them a career path. That's exciting. That is the responsibility of the leader.

Culture and wellness that needs to be front and center not just during a pandemic, but I think always, people spend most of their time working. So, I think they definitely appreciate when they are appreciated.

And then, finally, measure success in a more broad way, than I've shown you here, right. Are employees happy or they productive, are they here three years later, or they launching new products? Are they filing patents? Do they know why the two companies are better together? Are they motivated by that every day? That's the type of things we need to be looking at when we're thinking about what is deal success.

I think with that, I'll hand it back over to Joe Zeta to round up some questions.

Fantastic. Cara, thank you so much.

That was fascinating, such a great reveal and, and the insights on what's going on when it comes to culture. So, as a matter of fact, I'm changing my background in honor of your theme. So, hopefully, you'll come through, because we're all going from home to culture. So, that's great.

That's where we're at and I want to say, thank you to Amanda Turner, who is in the background moving, moving this latest stable release. Amanda, big thumbs up to you for doing a tremendous job, very seamless integration with the talk from care. So, Carol, great questions that have Surface here. I'm going to relay them as as many as possible. I encourage our audience, we still have eight minutes here, Provide your questions, I'm going to be looking at them and the relay them to Kara. So first of all, lots of great comments, and the compliments about the insights, the coverage you went from, high level, choose, some very specific details on how things are done, just incredibly useful, so much appreciation for all of that coverage. And the first is that, the Common theory is an interesting 1.

1 of the comments that came up was, if culture eats strategy for breakfast, mergers and acquisitions are side dishes and, and I love that, and I think that you'll cover, you cover many of the reasons why that's the case. But 1 1 1 item that the audience asked, if I could, if I could go a little bit deeper with you is Dawn. the perhaps the different integration models. So, you talked about full integration versus standalone, when is it what kind of decision making process you go through?

Because sometimes, you know, I, you and I have been for lots of mergers and acquisitions, some were very successful. But the reality is that a lot of them cross industry, most of them are not successful.

Yeah, and we see, and there are certain organizations there are actually a well known for destroying startups, for destroying the cultures of those companies that they want to acquire, Of course, not on purpose. But for the reasons that, you mentioned, are so focused on the financial benefits, that they overlook these important people items. So, when, how do you make the decision on, when to integrate, and when to leave it as a standalone?

So, that is a fabulous question. And I actually don't make that decision. So, because I'm sitting in HR, I can give my recommendations and my thoughts on it. But, at the end of the day, that is corporate development and the business leader determining, are we going to fully integrate them? Are we going to leave them more alone? So we have a company. It's within our company now. It's a ruba, but we have left them pretty much alone. So it's a robot, a Hewlett Packard enterprise company.

And so they are the one sort of outlier in our organization that they're still kind of doing the things they were doing before we acquired them and doing them the way that they were doing them, and they've got their own branding and their own thing. And that was a decision point.

28I mean, I think that has been incredibly successful. And I think you have to look at what's the legacy of that company? And if they have a long storied history, and a lot of pride around the brand, then you might want to consider that. But But at the end of the day, I think, And I said this in my presentation, I don't think we look at that possibility enough. I think we are largely still looking at, We're going to take this company, and we're just going to jam them into our company. And that's it. And I think that is why, to your point, there is so much failure in the deal, were up because, you know, if they're doing something fabulous, and they've got this, you know, special sauce, as I like to call it, why are we going to try to mess with that?

No, I think we should respect it a little bit more and consider leaving them to do what they're doing.

Well, said. Well said, in SharePoint, and on the cultural aspect things, sometimes it's a, it's a technology, or maybe a financial business decision to leave them as a stand alone.

Sometimes, because the cultures are just so dramatically different than any attempt of integration is, is, is, is likely killed the smaller cultures. Yes.

And we have to be careful of that, right? Because we are a 60,000 plus person organization. And as I mentioned, we're acquiring a lot of startups. So, you know, you've got 20 guys and girls that are in an office, and it's a very different culture. And so you have to be really careful of Yeah. what are the differences and will will they coalesce in the way that you want?

Yes, very good, Steve Sponseller is with us and I see his question is coming from the audience today, Any Steve is actually a very well known patent attorney in the in the high-tech industry. He actually has a book called The Patent Cold Working with a lot of integrations and he asks, I've worked with many tech startups who are acquired. And their biggest fear was usually going to work for the big corporation. They have been disparaging for many years. Yeah. So do you think this question is do you think that the growing popularity of remote work is actually helping relieve some of the spheres?

That's a really interesting question, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around separating, you know, physical location, and being in an office from, you know, the rest of the company culture. But, I think, I think, absolutely, it might feel more comfortable because it's less change, Right?

So if we're all behind our computers working and we get acquired, the only thing that's changing is the people on the on the zoom call. Right, You're not really changing your workspace. There's not a lot that you're changing. So, I would say, yes, it's definitely probably going to make that transition easier. Now, that said, it's more difficult to feel like part of a family or a network when we are not all in person. And so that's the part that my team is really focused on right now, is how can we get them those, those valuable experiences to feel like part of our family when they're never going to meet a single employee. They're never gonna go have coffee in the break room. I mean, that's, that's the stuff that we're, we're focused on.

Yeah. And you, and you, and you, and you talked about the impact of remote work. Also during your presentation, you talked about, there is some more flexibility with that.

And, there are some questions related to this remote work, and, and I don't know if it's, I wouldn't say company policy, but do you see that there has been a shift, as you pointed out, in your presentation about this?

This acceptance of people staying where they are, to a certain extent, and doing the work from where they are, you mention a certain percentage of employees at HP, the that will probably continue to work remotely. Yeah.

Curious when it comes to not only M&A but maybe even talent acquisition.

Are policies being instituted now that allow more flexibility, where to hire people from where and where they could stay once they are onboarded. Yeah, so I mean, I can't speak for our hiring team.

But yes, at our company, we have made a decision and we were one of the first companies to make it. We, we started making it last year and we basically said the future of work is hybrid. And we are probably going to assign the majority of folks to home office work.

Now, you can still drop into a site if you'd like to, but there will be, a smaller proportion of folks who are assigned to office is going forward and so the couple acquisitions that we've done, since Kobe, it happened, we have definitely said to the employees with their remote worker in Nevada. Actually we just had this case. yeah. You stay right where you are, and it makes no difference. Whereas, a couple years ago, we might have wanted them to go to a particular site, and it would have been a little more difficult for them. If there wasn't an HPE site anywhere near them, they might have felt a little more left out. So, yeah, I think it has a lot of implications.

And a lot of interesting implications for, for the acquired employee experience, given that you can work from anywhere, but I said, also, I think it's, it's going to contribute to two loyalty issues. If, if the whole world is now open, and you can work for anyone, anywhere, it's going to be more difficult for us to retain these folks.

Excellent. And one final wrap up here, have question time for one more, and then picking from the audience here. And the question is that the, a bit of a commentary, that's often the older generations almost, you know, take digs at the millennials and the Gen Zs for being idealistic. But there is a lot to be learned from them. From, from the fact that they have looked at people who have a car, A lot of financial assets and have had pretty miserable lives as a result. And they're like, well, maybe, you know, that's not how I want to live my life. And so on the topic of how these younger generations are prioritizing, what's the most important factors, just refresh for us, you are already talking about some of this in your presentation, but what strikes you as most use to fill in this current age?

When you are attracting the new generation, the new generations to be part of the workforce? Yeah, and I mean, it's, it's literally changing every year that I do this work. So that's, that's what's fascinating. But yeah, they want a company, they don't wanna categorize them all, but younger generations tend to want a company that is very aligned with their own values. So that's not something that we saw before. They want to see a company that's doing good out in the world. They've got big volunteerism, social justice. They're focused on inclusion and diversity. They're focused on what we were just talking about, flexible work. The ability to work from wherever, the ability to work at, at times, that makes sense for you, so you can manage all the other things in your life, so you can work in an environment that makes sense for you.

And a lot of times, I'm now seeing in surveys as well, They want a place that is fun. So I don't think that that's something that you saw a decade or two ago. I don't think people were choosing their their job based on whether work was fun. So there's a lot of this stuff that I think is increasingly important that we have to pay attention to.

Caravan ..., thank you so much for taking the time to share your expertise, A masterclass on mergers and acquisitions, culture, and so many important insights for organizations that grow organically, and the rack with mergers and acquisitions to, to prosper. So thank you so much for taking the time on behalf of over 2000 participants in our Global conference. It was a real pleasure to have you.

Thank you, Josie. I enjoyed it very much, and thank you for leading us through it, and thank you Amanda: for the for the slides.

Screenshot (4)Thank you, Amanda.

Thank you very much.

Alright, ladies and gentlemen.

Caribbean is closing our conference with tremendous presentation about mergers and acquisitions and the impact the people side of mergers and acquisitions. Thank you very much, Gary.

Thanks.

This brings us to the end of Beetles financial services life. It has been a real privilege and an honor to be your host for the sessions. I encourage you to go into the LinkedIn posts to make your comments, ask questions, interact with our speakers. I'll be putting a short update on today's proceedings on that posting later on today. So, and I hope you engage there and share your thoughts, commentary about the conference. Everything that's good must come to an end. And I have to say a big thank you to Brian Raffle. Our conference director who does such a great job of making sure that everything works smoothly for all global participants.

To VJ Bizarre. The CEO of ... Digital, who is putting world class conferences across multiple continents this year available to our global audience.

And, of course, our sponsors for Financial Services Live, UI path, and signoff you, for bringing this world-class events to a global audience.

Now, don't forget to sign up for our next conference. Our next conference is Beatles. I BPM live, March 16th through 18th. I BPM Live, is Intelligent, Business Process Management Live. We already have over 2000 registrations for that.

And please make sure that you have your registration completed as well, because I believe we have a cap at around 3000. And so, ensure that you have your spot guaranteed and the, I hope to see you next week, when we'll have a whole host of 12 global industry leaders, cross industry experts on intelligent business process management. So, for now, thank you, everyone, for joining us. I hope wherever you are in the world, you have a wonderful rest of your day, a wonderful rest of your week, and I hope to see most of you next week, daycare.

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About the Author

gggCara Bibbiani,
Global HR Mergers and Acquisitions Leader,
HPE.

Cara Bibbiani leads global HR Mergers and Acquisitions, driving Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s targeted use of M&A as a strategic growth lever to not only gain valuable IP, but also critical new talent for the edge-to-cloud, platform-as-a-service company.

Through her experienced team of HR Integration Project Managers, Acquired Employee Data Managers, and Strategic Consultants for Total Rewards, Onboarding, Change Management, and Culture & Experience, Cara delivers people integration strategies and solutions from pre-LOI through Business Day 1. Current focus areas include the shift to end-to-end virtual integrations in a COVID era, and positioning people issues and culture integration as key drivers of acquisition success over and above deal financials.

Since joining Hewlett Packard Enterprise in 2016 as part of the MBA Emerging HR Leaders Program, Cara has led acquired employee experience efforts for more than 15 acquisitions, spin-mergers, and divestitures, including the most recent integrations of Cray and Silver Peak. She has also headed up Strategy and Operations for 275+ Global Sales HR Business Partners and HR consultants at country level across global business units and functions, as well as supported company-wide global optimization initiatives and large-scale transformation efforts such as HPE Next.

Cara holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Maryland and an MBA in Global Management from UCLA Anderson, where she also earned distinction as class commencement speaker, Global Access Fellow, and Vice President of Women’s Business Connection. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for Operation Second Chance, a charity dedicated to wounded, injured and ill combat veterans and their families.

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