“It is so tiring managing those needy, needy people that suck the life out of you every day”
When it comes to assimilating new agents to an existing team, it is safe to assume that call center supervisors will almost always face the same challenges that our school teachers face. Or, more tellingly, new agents entering a new work environment almost always face the same challenges that new students entering a new school environment face. Managing call center agents can be as vexing as managing elementary school students.
We have explored in a different section the relationship and analogy between call centers and schools. Let’s explore that relationship a bit more closely as it relates to assimilating new agents into a veteran team. I can recall two or three situations when I was a new student entering a foreign environment full of veteran students. New school, new classmates, new teachers, new expectations, new results. All the students knew one another. They had established relationships and rapport. They were formed into cliques. They recognized how the system of that school worked. They knew the key players. They could get results.
I can remember feeling afraid, not for my safety, but for my future. I remember wondering if I was going to be able to assimilate into a new community, and accumulate the friends and relationships I needed to become successful. New students walking into a new school for the first time, staffed with veteran students, feel confused. The school is a modicum of practicality and routine. The new student is the X factor.
New call center agents are encumbered with the X factor, too. From a supervisor’s perspective, observe how difficult it is for new agents to enter such a relationship-driven environment as the call center world. Agents are the new kids on the block, entering a set routine, with veteran agents already established. It can be incredibly difficult for professionals of all levels to endure. Agents have established their cliques, and they know how to get results. In the working world, results can mean money, promotion, opportunity, and excitement.
New agents expect from their supervisors a basic level of assistance when it comes to assimilating them to the veteran team. They also expect veteran team members to assist them in learning the ropes. Most veteran team members will help, but not all. For example, in the sales environment, it could be detrimental for one agent to help another agent to learn the ropes, for they may be competitors as well as teammates.
Supervisors owe their new agents an opportunity. I have seen supervisors preclude their new team members from any opportunity because they don’t provide their new team members with the tools to succeed. Veteran agents sometimes are the easier clique to manage, so supervisors tend to take the easy road and foster success from their veteran group rather than working to achieve success with their new group.