As discussed in the often quoted Harvard Business Review, The Case for the Executive Assistant, the days of the Mad Men secretary version of an assistant for a Senior Executive are over. Technology like email, mobile devices, online calendars, and more allowed managers at all levels to operate with a greater degree of self-sufficiency without need for a secretary. Unknowingly, a big gap occurred with the loss of the trusted assistant that significantly impacted business owners and other executives. They found themselves managing their day and not running their businesses. A simple task of scheduling a meeting can turn into hours wasted with coordinating other people’s schedules, prior meetings running late, etc.
A new type of position has emerged. Executive Assistants came on the scene, and executives took notice. This new breed of assistant is capable of contributing to productivity at all levels of an organization.
According to Melba J. Duncan, author of the Harvard Business Review article, “For the organization to break even, the assistant must make the executive 8% more productive than he or she would be working solo—for instance, the assistant needs to save the executive roughly five hours in a 60-hour workweek.”
A good executive assistant can save their executive much more time than that through all of the expertise they have in travel, meeting plans, and even decision making.
What could you be doing with 8% more time?
How do you know you need an Executive Assistant?
Review these scenarios and see how many apply to you.
- You are scheduling your own meetings or playing phone tag with people more than you should be.
As an executive, you have many things to worry about when trying to grow a successful business. While scheduling a meeting sounds simple enough. Often, the meetings need to be changed or moved. Someone has to make sure the meeting is set up properly and what if you run late. An executive assistant can schedule meetings for you which will free you up to do things that more directly affect the success of the business as well as interact with everyone involved.
- You are not able to make it to meetings on time or arrive ill-prepared.
Meetings are one of the most important things when you consider the success of a business. As we already mentioned, an executive barely has time to do all the things necessary to keep their business on a successful path. An executive assistant will not only be able to schedule meetings and ensure that they fit your schedule, but they also will make sure you have all the notes and materials needed to conduct a productive meeting. Your executive assistant can take notes for your meeting as well as follow up on any action items.
- You are arranging your own travel plans.
Another time-consuming task that no executive wants to deal with is arranging travel plans. Most every successful business requires some travel for their executives in order to grow their business. An executive assistant can ensure that your travel plans work for you, are as cost and time-efficient as possible, and are going to the right place. Not to mention, follow up on any action items, meetings, and other tasks while you are travelling.
- You are doing your own paperwork (expense reports and receipts, emails, balance sheets, etc.).
Many executives spend hours long after their employees have gone home going through piles and piles of paperwork, emails, expenses, and receipts, etc. All this time they could be doing more productive things or spending much needed time with their family and friends. An executive assistant can take charge of all the tedious, but necessary work. Their organizational skills can optimize their time doing this task, also freeing them up to help you even more.
- You feel as if you have too much work, and not enough time. Weekdays. Weekends. They all run together.
Most people, no matter the position, will tell you that they have too much work and not enough time to get it all done. This is especially true for an executive and business owner. It often means long hours during the week and even more hours on the weekends. An executive assistant is able to get the small tasks done for you so you can focus on the big tasks that are imperative to your business’ success.
If any of these points resonate with you, much less all of them, it is time to consider an executive assistant. And we can help. We manage the entire process for you from hiring to training and on-going oversight. Learn more here.
Want to hire on your own? Read on for things to consider.
Who should you hire to be your Executive Assistant?
Now that you have decided that you need an Executive Assistant, how do you know who is a good candidate to hire? There is a lot to this, but here is a high-level overview of things you need to consider:
- Define the Executive Assistant’s Role
What do you need from your assistant? What are their objectives? What are the desired outcomes for productivity? What qualities and requirements are important to you? How will you determine their KPIs?
- Interview Process
What is their story? Do they fit your business culture? What are their goals? What are they good/not good at? Can you work with this person?
- Final Decision-Hiring an Executive Assistant
Did their references check out? What are the expected outcomes once this person is hired? Does their background and goals fit in with what the company is trying to accomplish?
Does this process seem daunting? There is a lot to hiring an executive assistant. The good news is we can help! When you are ready to hire an executive assistant, we can handle the entire process for you. Learn more here.