Roche Future Society
November 20, 2019

unpack

We enabled a highly successful acquisition by collaboratively aligning the acquired business with the Supercare purpose, culture and brand.

The end result boosted staff and customer engagement and grew market share in the region.

summary

project

post-acquisition
integration

industry

business services

services

Research
– Staff narrative gathering
– Customer online questionnaire
Executive sensemaking & strategic recommendations

Communications & media strategy
Creative big idea & Campaign execution
– Internal communications, PR, External: Radio, OOH, local press, digital

brand

Supercare Services Group is South Africa’s leading privately-owned provider of contract cleaning, hygiene, pest management, hospitality and outsourced labour services.

The common thread through all Supercare’s operations is the group’s ability to manage 19 750 people across South Africa to achieve the high standards demanded by 4 200 customers, – in fact the company has in the past won the prestigious title of ‘Cleaning Company of the Year’, 5 years in a row.

In 2011, Supercare acquired Zama Specialised Cleaning Services, a prominent Eastern Cape Cleaning Services provider, to expand its Eastern Cape footprint.

challenge

It’s no secret that mergers and acquisitions tend to fail. If fact, an average of 83% of them don’t deliver on desired objectives. Typical challenges experienced are communication, employee retention and cultural misalignment.

This acquisition looked good on paper (in terms of numbers, customers and culture), but the reality of bringing a smaller, regional company into a large national business was causing fear, anxiety, rumour mongering as well as customer concerns about relationships and service levels – with both businesses.

Supercare’s senior management team, acutely aware of the statistics and risks, were committed to making it a success.

the solution

Through partnerships, outstanding service and real expertise and offerings, Supercare aims to positively impact the lives of all people they touch in a world where just meeting expectations is no longer enough.

This was the ethos we needed to align post the acquisition in order to create a shared sense of a great future together capitalising on the best of both. So we first applied a hybrid internal to external engagement model that first set out to find the barriers to integration.

Part of our research included integrated cross-functional narrative gathering group sessions with management and staff from both businesses. This catalysed a sense of ‘us together’ and alleviated anxiety through the beginnings of a transparent conversation culture.

Working with the leadership team in an executive sensemaking workshop, we presented insights and recommendations, both operational and strategic, collaboratively identifying quick wins and critical actions going forward. Leadership committed there and then to implement quick wins in response to concerns immediately, establishing high levels of staff and customer trust.

Armed with the right insights and management buy-in, our subsequent internal and external TTL campaign not only unified staff under a common purpose, but also inspired a sense of confidence with customers that they would have stronger relationships with management, robust service delivery and more engaged and motivated staff. That confidence then spread to other stakeholders, such as trade unions, who were convinced of Supercare’s commitment to growth rather than job reductions.

the results

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800 Supercare staff were joined by 950 Zama staff with no voluntary staff losses

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Supercare customers doubled through the acquisition

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A customer retention rate of 97% was achieved

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Revenue increased 120% on conclusion of the acquisition, growing by 54% over the next 4 years

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Net profit grew by 150% over the same 4 year period

“Our collaboration with unagency (formerly Tribalfish) to deliver ‘Project Synergy’ set the tone for the success of the merger and helped pave the way for the next two years. The team was solidified and the culture of open communication helped cultivate trust. I believe that trust throughout the operation was the key to the success of the acquisition.

People felt safe, were happy to engage the new team and there were many hands on site visits and training, discussions, feedback on reaching milestones as well as team braais on Friday afternoons, which helped glue the team together.

This trust DNA filtered into not only the staff but our clients as well and the team created the future!”

Myles Bamford, EC Regional GM, Supercare Services Group.