By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
I’ve been involved in buying over a dozen telephone answering services. While some parts of the transition were fun to plan and easy to handle, the employee aspect was always the hardest. Despite my hard work to successfully integrate new operators into our existing workforce, they often thwarted my best efforts and ended up quitting in spite of themselves.
If your TAS is acquired, here are six steps to help secure your future with the new company:
- Stay Positive: Change is hard, and change is scary, but complaining won’t make it go away. No one likes to be around negative people; having a positive attitude is your first key to success.
- Treat It as a New Job: Regardless of what stays the same, this is a new job, with different procedures and new expectations. Accepting this quickly will ease your transition.
- Avoid an Us Versus Them Mentality: Staff from the acquired answering service invariably bands together and opposes everyone else, a.k.a. the enemy. While understandable, this “us versus them” mentality is divisive and harmful. The solution is to simply change from exclusive language to inclusive wording. “Us” means all of us, and there is no “them” anymore. This makes you a team player. Then avoid anyone who persists saying “us” and “them.”
- Be Willing to Learn: Yes, you amassed years of experience with the prior company, but some of that doesn’t apply now, and some may need to be unlearned. Be open to learning whatever you can, whenever you can. This can be hard, especially if you have more experience than your trainer, but set your ego aside, and be easy to teach.
- Look Forward: When your old TAS was sold, there was a time to mourn what was lost and revel in how things used to be. Work through this; don’t dwell there. No amount of wishing will bring it back; focusing on the past will keep you from realizing new opportunities.
- Put Potentially Toxic Relationships on Hold: Staying connected with former co-workers who, for whatever reason, are not part of the new team, is a bad idea. They will try to pull you down and make you as miserable as they are. Simply tell them, “Right now, I need to focus on my new job; once things settle down, maybe we can hang out again.”
Implementing these six steps will help turn you into a dream employee in the mind of your new employer.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his book How to Start a Telephone Answering Service.