Cultural alignment & integration of two businesses

Hudgell Solicitors CASE STUDY



Hudgell Solicitors supports clients who have experienced injury, accidents or medical negligence by providing legal advice, care and seeking financial compensation to protect their clients future. The provision of a high level of customer service sits at the heart of the Hudgell culture.

An opportunity arose to acquire a significant competitor, thereby almost doubling the size of the business. At the same time, Hudgell’s managing director identified the need to reduce his focus on the day-to-day running of the business in order to give more time to strategic growth and long-term development.

Against this backdrop an upcoming change of regulation was being seen as having the potential to significantly affect future fee income and profitability.


Hudgell Solicitors knew that if the acquisition was to be successful, priority had to be given to a cultural integration. However, they also saw the acquisition as a chance to review and strengthen the culture of the overall business, developing a mission and values strategy which would continue to deliver client excellence in a changing marketplace.

Our first priority was therefore to work with the senior team on the acquisition and immediate integration of the two businesses. This was to be followed by an evaluation and cultural alignment phase in order to ensure that the newly defined mission and values were embedded across the business before further work was undertaken in order to enable the MD to refocus his priorities.

  • Acquisition and immediate integration
  • Define new mission and values
  • Cultural alignment
  • Leadership re-evaluation

As the priority was on the acquisition and integration of the two businesses we worked with the senior management team in order to develop new mission and values which were used to inform the rebrand of the overall business.

At the same time the senior management team completed a review of the acquired business in order to identify the key differing business practices which would need to be resolved as part of the integration phase. Following initial identification and using the new values as a guide, we worked through the areas of concern using a ‘best of both’ philosophy. This then enabled us to move swiftly to run the initial integration phase from a business, project management and HR perspective; ensuring that communications and engagement were at the forefront of activities.

Key to the success of this initial integration phase was the identification of how the newly acquired staff would map into the operating model. This included running the HR processes for mapping people into roles and supporting the assessment exercise.

Once the initial integration phase was underway, Culture Consultancy led the overall cultural alignment activity, with a view to embedding the newly defined mission and values into every aspect of the business. Here again, communication was key to delivering a successful alignment. However, as with any culture change programme, the importance of ensuring a successful integration within areas such as processes, supplier relationships and performance management should not be underestimated.

Successful alignment only comes through strong employee engagement so active two way communication and engagement activities were put in place.

Finally, in order to enable the MD to refocus his energies we worked with the senior management team in order to redefine roles, responsibilities and decision making accountability with a view to meeting the priorities and targets identified within the new business plan. This included developing personal leadership skills and capabilities in areas such as financial/commercial awareness and team leadership.

  • Developing mission and values
  • Identifying key business practices
  • Integration
  • Culture change
  • Employee Engagement
  • Leadership

The initial identification and integration work has enabled the acquisition to be completed in a quick timeframe and has enabled key financial and legal risks to be mitigated.

Although (at the time of writing) some integration work is still ongoing, the senior management team are taking more responsibility not only for the day-to-day running of the business but also taking ownership of its future success through their behaviour and outlook. This in turn has enabled the MD to relinquish day-to-day responsibilities in order to focus further on strategic development whilst also preparing them for the upcoming regulatory changes.

The attention paid to communication and engagement has also proved successful with the latest engagement scores showing 4.7 out of 6.

Successful alignment and integration alongside upskilling of the leadership team.


“"A very pragmatic and flexible, yet commercial approach" ”

Following the acquisition of a competitor we engaged Culture Consultancy to work with myself and the senior management team to bring together the 2 companies into one business – one culture. They led us through an exercise to develop a new mission and set of values which encapsulated the core ethos of who we are as a business.

The subsequent implementation plan is now embedding this newly designed culture into all aspects of our business, effectively engaging and developing our people through the changes, including the development of the senior management team.

The Culture Consultancy team have demonstrated a very pragmatic and flexible, yet commercial approach to the project, in a style that works really well for people at all levels within our business – often feeling like they were actually part of our own team. They have been one (or more) steps ahead – often identifying and solving problems before they arose. They consistently deliver on their promises and have kept us very well informed throughout.

Neil Hudgell
Managing Director at Hudgell Solicitors

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