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7 Things We Learned from CULTIVATE 2021

Recently, Collaborative Solutions hosted CULTIVATE – a virtual event that brings together industry leaders to discuss how organizations can overcome the challenges they face today and move confidently into the future. Included in the event were three panels:

  • Strategies for Integrating Systems in Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Building a DEI Strategy for Lasting Change
  • Caterpillar & Workday: Achieving True Business Transformation

Here are some of the things that we learned from CULTIVATE 2021.

Strategies for Integrating Systems in Mergers & Acquisitions

CULTIVATE 2021 kicked off with a great panel on how to approach a merger or acquisition integration from a technology standpoint. Joining the panel was Kathryn Diaz, SVP Total Rewards at Cognizant; Paul Nelson, HR Systems Manager at a medium-enterprise insurance organization; Mary Ellen Kenemer, Senior Director of Consulting Services at Collaborative Solutions. Danielle White, the Vice President Global Customer Engagement at Collaborative Solutions, moderated the event.

  1. When it Comes to a Merger or Acquisition Integration, Adapt to the Situation

While there are a variety of different approaches to combining two different business entities, which approach you take depends primarily on the original goal of the merger or acquisition. “You can be successful in any one of those types of projects,” says Mary Ellen Kenemer. “What’s key is making sure that the approach you’re taking from a systems perspective is aligned to those goals that you set out with the acquisition, and that the business goals and the system goals are aligned.”

  1. Transparency is Critical in a Merger or Acquisition Integration

“Being upfront about what the point of view is going into that acquisition is key because you can’t have a miscommunication about that,” says Mary Ellen Kenemer. As Paul Nelson puts it, “What are some of those key objectives? Is it your timeline? Or are you closely watching the cost?” All parties involved need to have a strong understanding of the goals and a clear idea of what the result will look like. This will help to manage expectations and make the process much smoother.

Watch the Full Session

Building a DEI Strategy for Lasting Change

This fantastic session featured Shameka Young, Global Head Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Cognizant, David Jones, CHRO of Stanford Health Care, and was moderated by Alix Prassas, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Collaborative Solutions. The session provided a wealth of insights into how organizations can launch a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative or improve their existing efforts. Here are just a few of the key insights into developing an effective DEI strategy from the panel:

  1. Analytics are Critical for a Successful DEI Initiative

When it comes to breaking down existing barriers and becoming more equitable and inclusive, organizations should “start with the data, and then make the data align to performance management metrics,” according to Shameka Young. This will allow the organization to hold people accountable. For Cognizant, taking steps like measuring DEI metrics and checking in on progress on a quarterly basis “made that awareness move from just education to actual action.”

  1. Your DEI Strategy Should Start with “Why?”

David Jones echoed the importance of metrics but also added that “I think the first question to ask is why? Why is this important to us? Is this about compliance? Is it because of external pressure? Is it because we feel that there is a business imperative or do we feel that there is a moral imperative?” This will help to maintain focus, especially if the organization is focusing on improving diversity and inclusion due to external pressures.

  1. Consider the Employee Experience from a DEI Perspective

Reviewing the employee experience from a DEI perspective is also important, including during the hiring process. “We knew that we needed more diverse interviewers,” said Shameka Young. “As a woman, if I am going to interview somewhere, and I interview with ten men, they can be fantastic, but I will still want to know ‘does your organization have any women?’”

Watch the Full Session

Caterpillar & Workday: Achieving True Business Transformation

In this session, Cheryl Johnson, CHRO of Caterpillar, Inc., described the global organization’s journey to Workday and its overall digital transformation journey. This panel was also moderated by Danielle White.

  1. Create Transformation Momentum with Quick Hits

“You have to have some credibility in the organization for it to make the investment that it needs to make in you to be able to do this work,” says Cheryl Johnson. “We had to have some quick hits that were recognized by the business... to be able to garner the credibility to get the investment that we needed to bring on a product like Workday.”

  1. Technology is Only a Small Part of the Transformation Process

According to Cheryl Johnson, “The technology change was the smallest part of the work...even more important [was] getting people to understand what it was that we wanted to do different, how we wanted to work in a different way, and how they were going to be an integral part of that [change].” Getting buy-in from key stakeholders and having a solid change management plan is critical for a successful transformation process.

Watch the Full Session

For more insights, make sure to watch the full CULTIVATE 2021 sessions and subscribe to our blog below.