When companies merge it can lead to an interesting culture clash.
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When Walmart acquired Jet.com, it seemed to be a win-win situation. Walmart gained a competitive edge on Amazon, and Jet got a $3.3 billion check.

The two companies’ office cultures, however, weren’t a match.

In September, when Walmart acquired the New Jersey-based startup, Jet had a rude awakening. Walmart confiscated all of Jet’s alcohol, making the headquarters into a dry office, and requested that employees be mindful of swearing in the office.

Both of these changes were pretty unpopular.

Jet was used to having an alcohol-friendly work environment. The company’s headquarters is in Hoboken, New Jersey, a city with a strong drinking culture and Jet’s founder, Marc Lore, owns a vineyard in California.

Despite its popularity, Jet’s beloved desk drinking became a thing of the past. Walmart moved Jet’s weekly happy hour outside of the office and emptied out the office’s kitchen cabinet marked “Bar.”

Over the last few months, Jet executives complained that even though Jet was paying for an off-site happy hour, fewer people were going. Employees reported that the swearing rule barely stuck.

Eventually, Walmart compromised. A few weeks ago Walmart allowed Jet to move their Thursday night happy hour back into the office. Though the liquor cabinet is still gone, the startup has taken this victory as a sign of Walmart’s flexibility.

This isn’t an unusual situation. As startups and large companies enter mergers, there will always be a period of adjustment.

Big companies come with distinct cultures. From Walmart’s more conservative, Arkansas-rooted norms, to Amazon’s fast-paced habits, these big names bring about big changes.

Startups are essentially created to be acquired, and for Jet, the Walmart acquisition was certainly a victory. The companies work well together because they are drastically different, bringing separate customer bases together by combining ideas.

Though it’s not always easy to merge companies, in this case, the partnership was worth the compromise.

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Header image: Getty Images


Posted 07.06.2017 - 01:08 pm EDT