OVO Energy & SSE Energy Services – supporting a combined culture


With the acquisition of SSE Energy Services by OVO, the company faced a huge task as it sought to integrate the two organisations and build one effective team that lived the company’s ambitious zero-carbon living ambitions. With SSE Energy Services a much older, more established business with a more traditional approach and OVO, fast-paced and dynamic, powered by an entrepreneurial spirit – bringing the two organisations together would have its challenges across beliefs, systems and processes. 

Understanding both cultures

The Culture Builders provided a range of support functions during this critical period – kicking off with company-wide culture audits and codifications for both businesses. An approach that went way beyond surveys and focus groups, the audit process was designed to waste no time and move people to taking action as a result of the sessions we ran. Through highly interactive interventions that targeted every level, geography and job role across both organisations, we enabled people to describe the current culture and think about their part in delivering an even higher performing culture, incorporating both organisations, that would achieve future success. We also conducted desk research to ensure the wealth of existing engagement and people data was considered from both organisations.

From this we pulled together a picture of the current culture of both OVO and SSE Energy Services and codified each one based on our nine unique culture hallmarks. Following on from the audits of both OVO and SSE Energy Services, there was a need to bring the findings together and offer one summary snapshot of how the two organisations sat together. The Culture Builders shared deep insights around where there was shared ground and where there were significant differences that needed discussion and decisions about action, to increase effectiveness and be sure that the positive elements of both the OVO and SSE Energy Services cultures prevailed. The result was a tailored set of culture hallmarks for ongoing use as a dashboard in the business.

Practical leadership and manager support

In addition to the culture audits and codifications, The Culture Builders team provided support for the top 100 leaders to build their action plans and prepare for the future, practical manager support sessions to equip all managers to lead change and coaching for a number of the C-level team members. We have been described as ‘exactly what the company needs right now’ by one senior leader and our sessions frequently get ratings of over 90% value to leaders and managers in their role. Our advisory work with OVO continues as they progress integration in a very different world post covid-19.

“The work The Culture Builders delivered to codify both the OVO Energy and SSE Energy Services cultures as they came together provided more insight than we could have imagined, fast tracked so many initiatives focused in the right areas and was adopted in the business as the foundation of our change management strategy.”

Libby Townsend – Group People Director, OVO