Top 4 key webinar takeaways: How do banks successfully merge cultures during acquisitions?

Published on: 29 March 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes

On March 16, we gathered leaders from 3 large banks that underwent mergers and/or acquisitions in recent period, Petar Jovanovic, CEO of RBA Bank, Andrijana Aleksic Jevtic, Executive Director of NLB Bank and Krstinja Scepanovic, HR director of OTP Bank. We would like to thank Branko Vukovac, Head of POPS at Enlight IT for moderating the webinar masterfully. 


Top 4 advice from leaders that led mergers successfully


1. Human Capital beats the technical aspect of integration


“Even though, as leaders, we are initially frightened most by the technical aspect of integration of data and systems, that is not the most challenging part.”, stated Petar Jovanovic. “If we don’t have the people who will carry that change, we may have the best IT infrastructure in the world, but that will not help complete the process.”


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2. Weekly pulse check to identify and solve issues before it is too late


“For me and the HR department, the information we got from weekly pulse check was of crucial importance, as well as interpretation and analysis of the data. Through clear, prompt and organized data provided by weekly pulse check, in real time, we could direct our limited resources effectively to identify and support teams and star performers we wanted to support.” shared Petar Jovanovic.

The tool mentioned by Petar is Heartcount, also mentioned in the New York Times as a cost effective solution to replace expensive surveys that cost up to $250 000 annually. 

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3. Include employees in designing the change and ask them how they feel


According to Andrijana Aleksic Jevtic, Executive Director of NLB Banka, they faced a significant challenge to bridge the gap in culture differences of previously state owned bank and a private one. 


For one, the employees from the state owned bank were not used to being asked how they felt, but they welcomed it after a while. Her conclusion was that including people to lead the change through workshops is the best way to get them engaged. She also mentioned that it is important to keep them regularly informed, and that they used regular weekly newsletters for that. They also conducted a survey after 3 months to see how are they coming along, and the process of change and adaptation is not finished yet. 


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4. Create a strategy to manage the change effectively 


Krstinja Scepanovic, HR director of OTP Bank, stressed that what helped them merge not two, but three cultures effectively was a clear plan. Leadership generated strategy with clear focus points for managers: performance metrics, change adoption and employee engagement were top priorities. 


They also created separate channels and messaging for target groups within the company, eg. one message for direct managers, other for managers of managers, etc. In the end, they continuously used feedback from managers to adjust volume, frequency and content of messaging to make sure the right information is getting across. 


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While most of these tips may be common sense, keep in mind that when we are under a lot of pressure, we as human beings have a tendency to forget the basics. That is why it is important to share experiences and communicate in order to keep ourselves on the track. 

If you are curious about getting help about measuring success of your company initiatives, book a demo call with our team. 

Note: Mentioned webinar is in Serbian. Access to recording is granted upon filling out the registration form.

👩🏻‍💻👉🏻 Access the webinar by filling out the registration form here