16 Dec Key qualities of the indispensable administrative assistant
A good administrative assistant can be the most valuable hire a business makes. As a recent Inc. magazine article summed up: “The most important person in your office isn’t who you think…not your CMO, CFO, or even you. It’s your assistant. These unsung heroes are the ones who really run the show”.
While every business has its own particular set of needs from its employees, every good administrator, no matter the industry, will have a similar set of skills that make them stand out from the crowd and help you run your business with ease.
The best admin assistant is a gatekeeper, a team player and a people-person. It’s someone who is flexible and able to communicate with everyone in your company, as well as being a new client’s first port of call. Getting the right fit is crucial as you look to maintain existing business and plan future growth. If hiring a new admin assistant is in your near future, consider adding these requirements to your job description:
Five top skills of outstanding assistants
Whatever your assistant’s tasks, he or she needs to be able to manage their time effectively. A recent survey from Bower Talent found that 91% of assistants are responsible for daily diary management, expense management, travel management and general administration. An organised assistant who can prioritise tasks and take care of daily office management – from dealing with mail and supply closets to multiple requests for assistance from staff – allows you more time to focus on client needs.
Once settled into the role, the best admin assistant will see what needs to be done in an office without being told, whether that be bringing your attention to a rapidly looming deadline, flagging an urgent email, or knowing who to ask about finding an important piece of equipment for your next presentation. They research, ask questions and will perceive what you need almost before you do and can often make decisions in your stead. In fact, almost half (49%) of administrative assistants are considered key decision-makers within the business.
3. Approachable and positive
Your assistant is often the first face your clients and staff see each day and a gatekeeper for your staff, guarding their time by fielding calls and questions you may not have time to handle. An assistant’s friendly, positive manner goes a long way to cultivating a good impression of your business, not to mention creating a welcoming atmosphere for all of your staff.
4. Confident communicator
Whether it be answering emails or phone calls, drafting letters for your approval or taking a quick glance over a document before it’s sent off to a client, communication skills matter. As the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and knowing you can trust your assistant to provide you with well-written documents that are easy to read the first time around, means you can be confident your business makes a great impression from the start. Etiquette and manners, whether communicated over the phone or in an email, still matter. Therefore, part of the interview process could include a short written test to see how they communicate in writing under pressure.
5.Top-notch tech skills
Being tech savvy has never been more important, as 2020 has demonstrated. A tech-confident assistant knows how to manage tasks however they come, be that from a scribbled request on a sticky note, an IM on Slack, or an email. Knowledge of project management tools, as well as the ability to amend spreadsheets, create mail merges, or confidently use billing systems, are just some of the tech skills an assistant will need. There’s no room for technophobes here: technology advances every day and the willingness to keep up with those advances enhances the way your business runs.
A confident administrator is the operational backbone of any business and is key to your overall efficiency and success. Making these top five skills a core part of your hiring focus will set you on the path to ensuring your company runs smoothly while maximising productivity and creating a positive environment for clients and staff. We’re proud that our team at Organised You demonstrate these skills, and so many more, every day, supporting our clients to stay organised and efficient in all they do.