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4 minutes

The Competitive Advantage of Retaining Company Values

Cassandra Rose, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

All busi­ness­es have to weath­er shocks, be they reces­sions, pan­demics, or even trends like the Great Res­ig­na­tion. A key to suc­ceed­ing through these shocks is cul­ture, a les­son learned and lived by Emil Sayegh, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Ntire­ty. We recent­ly had him on the Brag­Wor­thy Cul­ture pod­cast to dis­cuss how to posi­tion and deploy cul­ture to win.


Unlike reces­sions or pan­demics, merg­ers can be planned for, though they can be just as stress­ful and filled with chal­lenges. Emil presided over the merg­er of Host­way and Host​ing​.com into Ntire­ty some years ago.

The Players

Emil was already run­ning Host­way pri­or to the merg­er and saw a lot of syn­er­gies between the two com­pa­nies. They were both focused on enter­prise cus­tomers that were:

  • 15 years or older
  • Between $300M and $3B in revenue
  • With mul­ti­ple applications
  • Being pushed into the pub­lic cloud

Host­way had Azure exper­tise, while Host​ing​.com had AWS expertise.

Between the two com­pa­nies, they were able to cov­er every pos­si­ble infra­struc­ture and add a lay­er of man­age­ment that would include secu­ri­ty, patch­ing, alert­ing, etc.

The com­bined com­pa­ny had 14 data cen­ters and would go into these busi­ness­es and help them man­age some of their assets on-premis­es, while mov­ing some of them to the data centers.

Why Ntirety?

Because the new com­pa­ny felt that it was bring­ing all pos­si­ble IT solu­tions to enter­prise IT — man­ag­ing a company’s cloud solu­tion and/​or IT infra­struc­ture — the name made sense.


Emil was told that the merg­er of two com­pa­nies of this size would take many months and more like­ly 24 months to com­plete. Emil and his team man­aged to do it in nine months. How? A focus on cul­ture, Emil says.

By sit­ting down with both man­age­ment teams 90 days before the merg­er was final­ized, Emil was able to make sure that both sides saw eye-to-eye on how to inte­grate ser­vices, intro­duce new tools, and wel­come new faces — all while remain­ing focused on cus­tomers. In these dis­cus­sions, they saw that the syn­er­gy between the two com­pa­nies wasn’t just func­tion­al, it was cul­ture-based as well.

Rather than just assert­ing that cul­tur­al sim­i­lar­i­ty to employ­ees from both com­pa­nies, Emil flew to the dif­fer­ent Host​ing​.com loca­tions around the world to intro­duce him­self and to assure team mem­bers that the cul­ture they loved wouldn’t change and would be part of the new com­pa­ny. Emil cred­its those ear­ly trips not only with mak­ing sure the merg­er went smooth­ly (and quick­ly) but set­ting up the paths of lead­er­ship for the future com­bined company.

The Ntirety Culture

Ntire­ty promis­es to per­son­al­ly know each client’s infra­struc­ture, appli­ca­tions, and team from end-to-end, to deliv­er com­pre­hen­sive and trans­for­ma­tive solu­tions designed with each client’s busi­ness goals in mind. It deliv­ers this ser­vice using the best peo­ple in the industry.


How do you get the best peo­ple in the indus­try? Turns out that a reces­sion and the Great Res­ig­na­tion can help a lot.

Emil sees cul­ture as a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage. When oth­er com­pa­nies are micro­manag­ing or won­der­ing if their employ­ees are giv­ing their all, com­pa­nies with great cul­tures know that their employ­ees — who are total­ly bought into the mis­sion — are 150% committed.

This means that with cur­rent cyber­se­cu­ri­ty job post­ings, many mid-lev­el busi­ness­es can­not com­pete with the pay, ben­e­fits, and cul­ture that a com­pa­ny like Ntire­ty brings to the table, which allows it to scoop some A‑players.

Intern Program

The best peo­ple in the indus­try also have to start from the bot­tom, and even there Ntire­ty has its nets out. It offers sum­mer intern­ships to under­grad­u­ate stu­dents to allow both sides to ​“try before they buy,” allow­ing Ntire­ty to offer the most promis­ing stu­dents jobs right after grad­u­a­tion. Emil sees this as a home­grown ​“farm program.”

Internal Promotions

The Great Res­ig­na­tion allowed Ntire­ty to focus on its own team mem­bers as tar­gets for pro­mo­tion. Emil shared one case with us in par­tic­u­lar, a VP of sales who had start­ed as front­line as pos­si­ble but moved to sales exec­u­tive, then man­ag­er, then direc­tor, and now the VP position.

Emil notes that an impor­tant aspect of being ready for pro­mo­tion is devel­op­ing those around you, so at least one per­son can fill your role. By mak­ing your­self indis­pens­able in your cur­rent role, you make it dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to pro­mote you. Be pre­pared for the role you’re look­ing for and, in so doing, pre­pare some­one else to take on the role you’re ful­fill­ing now.

Content Creation

One step removed from direct recruit­ment is cre­at­ing con­tent, and that’s some­thing Ntire­ty seeks to do a lot. By writ­ing about and dis­cussing the impor­tant issues in cyber­se­cu­ri­ty, it attracts read­ers who care, who are also like­ly to be work­ing in that indus­try, and it’s one short step from read­ing thought lead­er­ship in a field to want­i­ng to work for one of those thought leaders.

Staying the Course

As Ntire­ty con­tin­ues to nav­i­gate the future, Emil has three prin­ci­ples that he keeps at the fore­front of his mind:

  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tion
  • Trans­paren­cy
  • Not mak­ing promis­es you can’t keep

On the last one — unkept promis­es — Emil saw the neg­a­tive snow­ball effect on morale that tak­ing away fan­cy ben­e­fits can have. Instead of offer­ing fluffy ben­e­fits like con­stant­ly catered-in meals, com­pa­nies should focus on ben­e­fits that are sus­tain­able and desir­able, even dur­ing hard times.

Offering Mentorship

Some­thing Emil expe­ri­enced in his own life was peo­ple believ­ing in him and speak­ing that belief into him, even when he didn’t see qual­i­ties in him­self that oth­ers clear­ly saw. That encour­age­ment pushed him along a career tra­jec­to­ry to becom­ing a CEO and being known as some­one who could turn around sit­u­a­tions, which is how he came to be at Host­way in the first place.

That’s some­thing he now encour­ages in his lead­er­ship team: hav­ing the courage to men­tor team mem­bers who don’t lack tal­ent but lack con­fi­dence. By offer­ing coun­sel and wis­dom, these team mem­bers can devel­op to their fullest poten­tial. Proac­tive­ly offer­ing men­tor­ship takes its own sort of courage, of course, but Emil sees that as part of a win­ning culture.

If men­tor­ship doesn’t get extend­ed, the log­i­cal con­se­quence will be that these tal­ent­ed indi­vid­u­als will con­tin­ue to make mis­takes that inad­ver­tent­ly sab­o­tage their careers. Then no one, includ­ing them­selves, can ben­e­fit from the tal­ent that might have been allowed to shine.

Emil walks the walk with this expec­ta­tion by hav­ing a lot of one-on-ones with team mem­bers who ask him for them. He believes that until you talk to and get to know your up-and-com­ing team mem­bers, you’re not going to know who’s going to take the ball and run with it.

Check Out the Full Episode

If you have enjoyed read­ing some of what Emil has to share, lis­ten to the entire pod­cast on Apple or Spo­ti­fy to get even more hard-earned wisdom.

Look­ing to build your own Brag­Wor­thy Cul­ture? Fringe can help. Fringe is the num­ber one lifestyle ben­e­fits mar­ket­place. Give your peo­ple the pow­er of choice and save a ton of admin­is­tra­tive headaches by con­sol­i­dat­ing exist­ing ven­dors and pro­grams into a sim­ple, auto­mat­ed plat­form. Talk to our team to get started.

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