Seven steps to elevate admin performance
If you’re like most busy professionals, you probably don’t pay the admins running around your office too much attention. They’re often the invisible heroes that go unnoticed until disaster strikes and they’re called in to “save the day”.
Whether they’re managing your calendar, booking your travel, or fielding a barrage of incoming phone calls, these pros help keep you and your team running at full speed. And yet, admins are sadly underappreciated, and often underutilized, in most businesses.
In today’s economic environment, admin teams are shrinking, budgets are tighter than ever, and (as always) the pace of business is ever increasing. That means your admin team is constantly trying to “do more with less.”
As a result, businesses need to be focused on implementing concrete strategies to elevate workplace performance and increase job satisfaction amongst their admins. Doing so will help you develop and retain high-quality professionals in this critical role.
I recently surveyed almost 300 administrative professionals, representing over 15 industries and nearly 200 organizations from around the world. In the survey, the admins were asked to share their insights about the challenges they face on a daily basis and how management can help make them more effective in the workplace. The responses were fascinating, and I’ve used them to create a powerful roadmap (based on the acronym “ELEVATE”) that will guide you in creating a stronger, happier administrative team.
E = Engage
Like nearly all employees, admins excel most when they feel enthusiastic about their work and deeply involved in (and committed to) the success of the business. Engage your admins by providing ample developmental opportunities; facilitating two-way communication between admins and management; and helping them to better understand the priorities of the business and how their role contributes to the bottom line.
L = Leverage
Few admin teams are properly leveraged. This doesn’t mean they’re not busy; they simply aren’t contributing to the fullest extent possible. Your admins have talents and interests that go beyond the typical day-to-day tasks assigned to them.
Leverage their capabilities by offering a greater variety of challenging tasks that allow them to utilize and expand their unique skill set. The business will benefit from the added productivity, and the admin will experience increased motivation and job satisfaction.
E = Empower
Administrative professionals are often stifled by micromanagement and lack of authority.
Empower your admins to make decisions and take action based on their own sound judgment. Give them access to the necessary resources and information, and hold them accountable for the consequences. Doing so will give your admin team a greater level of confidence, a better understanding of the business, a deeper investment in the outcome, and greater sense of purpose within the organization.
V = Value
Everyone wants to feel valued and valuable—and your admins are no different. They will rise to meet the expectations placed on them. The more you think of them—and treat them—as valuable team members, the more they will act like it.
Show that you value your admin team by offering sincere public and private praise, acknowledging their victories, and using respectful language when discussing their contributions.
A = Articulate
Don’t force your admin team to play “detective.” When you offer clear, accurate and timely communication, admins know exactly what’s expected of them. They’re able to work faster, make fewer mistakes and better utilize their skills to meet the demands of the job. Ultimately, they’re better positioned for success and better equipped to support you and the business.
T = Train
While business leaders enjoy large budgets for training and development, administrative professionals often get little or no support in this regard. Invest in your admin team (even minimally) and watch them flourish.
With regular training and education, your admins will hone their skills, allowing them to take on more responsibility, complete tasks more efficiently, and require less supervision. Perhaps more importantly, however, they will feel valued. Their commitment to the company will strengthen as they feel the company’s commitment to them.
E = Enrich
Help make work a more enriching experience for your admins by giving them the space to grow personally and professionally. Support volunteer efforts, encourage a healthy lifestyle, and allow for a sustainable work-life balance. As human beings, we all want to feel that our work supports our bigger life goals. Admins, like all employees, perform best when they feel rewarded on a level deeper than a paycheck.
Implementing these 7 simple steps will help you lift your admin team—and your business—to new heights.