In 2009, Kurtosys acquired Fundworks Global Ltd. The acquisition broadened our geographic footprint and expanded our product line. In addition, we were fortunate enough to inherit some incredibly talented people as part of that deal.
As most post-acquisition integrations go, the two companies consolidated, eliminated headcount and plotted a plan forward to successfully expand the company in spite of the malaise of the financial crisis. We emerged from that difficult time due to our amazing people and great products, but we fell short in building a unified company. We focused on checking the ‘integration’ boxes, but didn’t thrive out of the gate, because we didn’t tackle the problems stemming from a decentralized structure.
After the acquisition, we operated our business with a decentralized structure, having five offices in four countries. This created different processes and an office-based culture evolved. We just weren’t operating our company as if we were one company with one vision and one path forward. Instead, we were operating as five disparate units.
Eventually, operating the business regionally created internal friction and led to high attrition rates in some geographies. So, we did what most good businesses do — evolve:
- Talent acquisition strategy. We needed to act and think globally as our clients do, but we were stuck in the habit of searching locally to fill hiring needs. Now, we’ve changed our mindset and look at the global resource pool when hiring strategically. We encourage our leaders to think and manage globally. We’ve brought on two incredible talent acquisition professionals to lead our global recruiting efforts, and, directly as a result, we have scaled our business economically while deepening our global breadth and depth of services.
- Consistent processes. Once we ensured that we had the right hiring philosophy, we worked to implement a consistent global delivery process. We reorganized the company to align our operations with our strategy. It doesn’t matter whether or not we are selling or implementing a solution in Europe or South Africa; regardless, we are consistent for our customers. This is our commitment; this is our goal.
- Management presence. Previously, we relied too heavily on digital communication and management rarely visited global offices – not only was traveling expensive, we felt our regional structure worked. However, it didn’t work in the long run and our employees questioned whether or not management was invested in their success. Our managers have changed that by collaborating together on consistent travel schedules (and often sending employees, not just managers) and traveling to overlap with town halls and local team events to make good use of our time there.
- Community involvement. We are investing in our global community. Never before had we coordinated our offices to have regular and visible community events and team philanthropy. It is amazing to see how our employees have taken ownership and spearheaded initiatives to ensure that we are globally responsible. Because of their stewardship, our offices have invested their time supporting organizations such as New York Cares and the Sanshil Foundation.
- Celebrating our global successes. Whether the cause for celebration is employee appreciation events or holidays, we celebrate our accomplishments together across the globe. We implemented a global HR platform that shows our global calendar of events, global work anniversaries, and office holidays so we are easily connected. Even when we are apart, we are together.
Sam Altman is absolutely right to say that it is so much easier to learn from success, but we can also learn a lot from the adjustments we make when we mess up. It takes courage to change. The Kurtosys management team understood the challenge from the global office structure, made positive changes to the business and is creating a single vision as part of that process.
We aren’t perfect, and we are still learning as we grow. We continue to make mistakes, because that is how we learn. What is important to remember is that we have a goal and a vision to act as one.