Melissa Hentschel is Chief Delivery Officer at Onbe, where she builds high-performing teams that deliver on operational and service excellence for our clients and their payment recipients.
Over the past several months, I’ve been especially focused on a goal that’s close to my heart: bringing together two great teams, Onbe East and Onbe West, to create one unified payments company. Each campus brings a distinct culture that has been decades in the making. Each has its own strengths, traditions, and a surrounding community that imparts local flavor. (Onbe East is based in Greater Philadelphia, and Onbe West is located just outside of Chicago.) So, creating a single culture that honors and integrates these two distinct organizations is an ongoing process that requires open communication, extending grace, and bridge-building. The goal as we move forward together is not to extinguish facets of the distinctive organizations we are in the process of merging, but to build on what’s already working while creating space for new possibilities.
Our merger took place during a much larger cultural shift brought about by the pandemic: the widespread adoption of remote work. The same technology that has enabled many companies to work from home safely and effectively over the past year ended up jump-starting collaboration and communication between our two campuses early on. Because we’re all more skilled at connecting and sharing ideas via virtual channels than we were a year ago, the geographic distance between Onbe East and West felt much less significant than it probably would have in the past. So, we were ready to hit the ground running when it came to getting to know each other and discovering new ways to work together. Growing comfortable with reaching out to team members on either campus—and jumping right into building new things together—was a much quicker process than I anticipated.
And while we all long to be together in person again and in many cases, meet each other face to face for the first time, achieving our goals while enjoying camaraderie and welcoming new colleagues into the fold is more than possible on virtual channels. One great bridge-builder was our virtual brand launch party that we held over Microsoft Teams. Fun campus trivia brought many laughs and helped break ground for our unified Onbe community in an organic and entertaining way. I can see us continuing to build on this virtual format, using it to bring us all together often to celebrate everything from holidays to company successes.
Our team’s adaptability also helps us stay nimble and responsive to clients’ evolving needs, even though our organization has doubled in size. Large companies don’t have to become unwieldy or lose the ability to act quickly on new trends and opportunities—just the opposite. With a larger, more diverse team and the agility we’ve gained from our rapid adoption of tools for virtual collaboration, Onbe is ready to move even faster as we build the payment experiences of the future. I’m reminded every day of how much both Onbe campuses have always had in common: the same passion for client satisfaction through operational excellence and great products, fintech innovation, and turning every payment into an opportunity. Moving forward together is all the easier because we started with the same values and commitment to shared goals.
Of course, while culture can be guided and shaped, it retains just a little bit of mystique. After all, every employee brings unique talents, interests, and ways of seeing the world, and each team within Onbe has its own special dynamics. These dynamics will only become more complex as our organization grows, and that’s the idea—to bring great minds, diversity, fresh ideas, and interesting perspectives together in new configurations. I fully expect our culture to keep evolving and surprising us, and I can’t wait to keep creating and discovering, alongside our employees, what it’s like to work at Onbe!