The Challenge: Tanking Performance and Staggering Turnover

A mid-sized SAAS company was recently acquired by private equity. Cue a major cultural transition. And, over the next year, the impact of a staggering turnover rate. What was intended by the new owners to be an initiative to streamline processes in an effort to scale – had sucked up months of energy and resources from the organization with little tangible results. Wayforward conducted an assessment of the leadership team’s alignment and an employee experience assessment. Two things that in our experience are always and inextricably linked.

Assessment Insights


At the leadership level, our assessment found that while the team was closely aligned on their long-term strategic goals, there was significant misalignment around immediate priorities, company values, and expectations of employees for the short term. This stemmed from a clash between the inertia of encouraged behaviors from the “old” culture and a new set of expectations of the new ownership.

These factors contributed to a cascading sense of confusion among the general employee population. A majority of the core software development and customer support teams felt disempowered to make decisions because they had no clear priorities or values to base those decisions on. This drove a constant state of leaders being pulled into day-to-day activities out of necessity. Which fostered a sense of hopelessness in employees on their ability to perform their own responsibilities without leadership intervention. Feeling as if it was impossible to be successful in their roles, employment elsewhere became attractive. Turnover begot turnover until institutional knowledge was all but flying out the door and further-fueling the need for leader involvement in routine processes and tactical decisions.

Applied Methods

Our task then became to immediately establish strong alignment within the senior leadership team. Once that alignment was established, we facilitated transparency on the immediate goals, roadmap, and prioritized expectations. The next step was to crystallize accountability for every role throughout the organization – defining the metrics and outcomes each and every team member was accountable for keeping on track. And the decisions which belonged to each seat in the organization. The importance of re-engineering the development and execution of new processes with buy-in of its stakeholders was the final piece of the action plan’s structure.

Then, capturing the positives of the employee experience: to formalize them into the future of the organization, and form a strong employer brand for recruitment efforts. Moving forward, the leadership of this organization has tools and strategies to follow in order to reach agreement on and activate in lockstep against priorities. In doing so, they engage employee stakeholders and push decision-making as close to the front-line employees in each department as possible – resulting in employee buy-in, empowerment, and retention.