Q: My company just got acquired. One by one my long-term colleagues are being terminated and replaced by people from the acquiring firm. I would like to stay in my position, but I may be forced to leave. What should I do?
A: First, recognize the acquiring company’s management is more comfortable surrounded by people it knows and trusts. That’s why they are bringing in their own folks. They have nothing against your colleagues. They just prefer working with their own crew.
Unfortunately, like your associates, you are an unknown quantity at the moment, but you can change that with initiative and persistence. If you want the new regime to keep you on board, you will have to quickly become an enthusiastic member of their team.
Start your internal PR campaign by critically evaluating your performance. Are you worth what you’re being paid? Are you genuinely adding value to the organization? If you have been coasting lately or your productivity is in decline, mend your ways. It’s easy to fire a poor-performing stranger.
Talk to the new management about its strategies and goals. Find out the skills and perspectives the executive team equates with success. Get their opinion of how your position supports their vision for the future. Show genuine interest in their goals and how you might play a role in achieving them.
Once you understand your management’s direction, identify how you can enhance their effort to improve profitability, revenue, customer service, product design, operation systems or whatever may be of critical importance. Then, communicate your excitement about the firm’s strategy and specifically how you will contribute to it.
Do not hide in a corner hoping your invisibility will spare you a pink slip. Individuals who don’t step up to the plate and embrace the new power structure may automatically be construed as, “not a team player.”
While you are building bridges with the new management, simultaneously increase your networking efforts throughout your company and profession. The more relationships you cement inside and outside your organization, the more likely you’ll have a job once the dust settles.
Despite all your effort, there is no guarantee you’ll keep your present position. To stay employed, you may need to rely on Plan B. Networking is the best way to uncover other opportunities, should you find yourself out of the loop and out the door.
Taunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979, which works with individual and corporate clients in career change; job search; executive, small business and life coaching; college major selection and talent management.
“One of the smartest minds in the career field,” according to Tony Lee (VP of CareerCast Operations at Adicio and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal’s Online Vertical Network), Besson began writing for the Dallas Times Herald in the early 80s. Having read several of her columns, Lee asked her to contribute regular articles to the Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly (NBEW) as well. Since then, she has been a triple award-winning columnist for CareerJournal.com and Senior Columnist for CareerCast.com, as well as WorkingWoman.com and Oxygen.com. At Lee’s request, Besson authored five editions of NBEW’s Premier Guide to Resumes and three of its Premier Guide to Cover Letters. She has also written articles and/or been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money and Yahoo among others.
Taunee has worked on community nonprofit boards and committees for over 30 years including Girls Inc., Women’s Center of Dallas, Girl Scouts and Dallas Women’s Foundation, The Volunteers of America and Mortarboard, among others. She was a member of the Leadership Dallas in 1987 and Leadership America in 2003.
In 1994, the Dallas Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development chose her as its “Professional of the Year”. Her NBEW columns were selected for the “Ten Best Article Award” in 1990, 1994 and 1997. In 1999, Alpha Gamma Delta, a 200,000 member fraternal organization, named her as one of three “Distinguished Citizens” at its biannual international convention.