Quantifying and Aligning Workplace Culture Post-Merger

constructive culture in long-term healthcare

Founded on January 1, 2017, Inclusa is a not-for-profit organization delivering a person-centered and community-focused approach to long-term care. The organization is the product of a recent merger between three Wisconsin-based organizations that were in business collectively for almost 20 years. Supporting over 1,100 employees across the state, the company was experiencing some challenges after the merger, as a result of different cultures and environments.

Commitment to People

“I joined our organization right after the merger process had been initiated. At that time, we were challenged with bringing three organizations together, which included 1000+ colleagues who were accustomed to different workplace cultures and varying sets of business practices. We were officially one organization in name, yet needed to bridge the gaps that existed everywhere else, especially the culture gap,” says Michelle Fellenz, Chief Talent Learning & Culture Officer.

Michelle, along with the leadership team at Inclusa decided cultural management was one of the core issues that would need to be addressed early on for the organization to come together and align on other key business issues. The team had collected feedback using various qualitative methods in the past, but they knew they would need to dive deeper in order to understand what was going well in the organization and where opportunities existed for development.

Change Starts at the Top

CEO Mark Hilliker, Chief Member Experience Officer Kris Kubnick, Michelle, in addition to the rest of the Inclusa leadership team, were all introduced to Human Synergistics at the Regional Cultural Conference in 2018. It’s here where, as a group, they participated in the Culture Journey Experience and immediately felt a need to connect.

“The conference really provided two things for our leadership team. First just starting to understand a little bit more around what culture really is. I think we talk a lot about culture…we know what organizational development is, but it tends to leave the room when you start talking strategy. So, it was good for our leadership team to digest what the word culture really means. It also created alignment. It helped everyone get onboard and recognize that there needs to be an investment at the senior leadership level in order to make any change move across the organization,” says Kubnick.

Mark, Michelle, and Kris all saw an opportunity to take the idea of culture and make it more tangible for the company. “With 12 years of experience and the assessment tools that provided quantitative data showing where we are, where we want to go, and how we need to get there – Inclusa’s culture journey seemed attainable. There was also alignment in both our organizational values and Human Synergistics’. And I think ultimately that really got us excited to partner with them on our journey,” Kubnick explains.

Establish a Behavior Baseline


The leadership team surveyed the entire organization using the Organizational Culture Inventory® (OCI®) and Organizational Effectiveness Inventory® (OEI) in order to establish a baseline for the climate and culture at Inclusa. Mark, Michelle, and Kris also went through Human Synergistics’ accreditation workshop in order to help implement and understand the assessments and results.

Additionally, being able to visually represent the preferred culture to Inclusa colleagues, using the OCI Ideal, was key to creating universal buy-in and an investment to work towards a more Constructive culture. The team also executed the Culture Journey Event (updates pending, check back soon) at multiple locations, which helped employees more easily digest the assessment results.

“The results were fantastic!” Hilliker says. “We had over an 80% response rate which I’m really proud of. I think it demonstrates the interest that our colleagues have in the organization and in its future. With this information, we were hopeful that we’d be able to build a strong baseline to better understand what our culture looks like today and the ideal culture for us to move towards.”

Michelle and Mark share what they discovered in their survey results

Invest in Development

The Inclusa

The Inclusa leadership team has gone so far as to take their results on the road. The team has hosted over 13 organization-wide “road shows”, in which they travel to regional locations across Wisconsin in order to share the survey results and findings firsthand.

As they look towards the future and where the culture of the organization is headed, there is a beacon of light shining on the opportunity for change.

“One of our focus areas, and another catalyst for our culture journey, was that we were all working in a very transactional mindset…very much siloed across the organization. We are, and will continue to, look at ways to reinvent how we’re structuring our teams to help improve interactions and collaboration,” says Kubnick.

Inclusa’s leadership team share how culture is still transforming

While it’s never an overnight change, culture transformation is a vital part of an organization’s success when done correctly. Inclusa has already begun to implement some crucial steps to make this change happen for their colleagues. They’ve implemented a philosophy called The Inclusa Way to reinforce the cultural norms around Humanistic-Encouraging, Achievement, and Affiliative.1 The team has also adopted a downward communication approach using Pop-Up Webinars to engage the broader organization and share information and updates more regularly.

Does your organization need help assessing or managing the impact of its current culture? The experts at Human Synergistics can help you understand what’s expected of your employees and how those expectations affect your business. Also, check out our newly released book, “Creating Constructive Cultures to learn how organizational leaders around the world are creating more productive workplace cultures.

Contact us if you would like help assessing the current or ideal culture of your organization.

1 The terminologies are from Robert A. Cooke, Ph.D. and J. Clayton Lafferty, Ph.D., Organizational Culture Inventory® and Organizational Effectiveness Inventory®, Human Synergistics International, Plymouth, MI. Copyright © 1987-2007. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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