Administrative professionals can prove to be one of your most invaluable employees.
Most companies that hire administrative professionals soon discover that they’re like unassuming superheroes - knowing everything that is going on in the business and working away to help the company meet its goals.
Still, many businesses face pressure to keep costs as low as possible, including those associated with staffing. That means an operational case has to be made for each and every role in the company, including the administrative professional.
If you’re still on the fence about whether to hire an administrative professional for your CEO, let us present the case:
Are you limiting your operational efficiency?
First of all, your CEO and other senior executives aren’t in those roles by accident. They’re there to contribute high-value knowledge and skills to run the business successfully. But, is that what they’re always doing day-to-day?
If your CEO isn’t focusing on the highest investment tasks, they’re putting a natural limit on operational efficiency. Scheduling their own meetings, booking their own travel and accommodation, filing reports and managing their own inboxes are just some of the tasks that should be filed under “not the best operational use of time.”
Without extra help, there’s a natural limit on how much any person can get done, including the CEO! It’s important to consider that healthy work/life balance should be a priority for every role - if CEOs are working all hours to fit everything in, it’s a slippery slope.
Justifying the cost of an administrative professional
Like most expenses in a business, a justification will usually be required for the expense of an administrative professional. We have a few steps to help:
#1. What is the core role of your CEO?
It’s important to identify the core role that your CEO should be performing, including all associated activities. The job description should be pretty clear - CEO tasks are the sorts of “next level” things that only someone with their skills and experience will be doing.
Prepare a list of all of those required tasks so that the role is clearly defined. There shouldn't be vague statements in there - “other duties as required” leaves the role wide open to anything and everything.
#2. Conduct an activities audit
What tasks is the CEO actually doing? An audit should go minutely into their typical day, noting every task they are doing. Make sure this is documented.
#3. Calculate how CEO time is spent
How does the list of tasks the CEO is doing compare with the list associated with their core role? How much time are they spending on each task?
If you can document the time spent on “extra” tasks (scheduling, travel arrangements, clearing the inbox, responding to queries that could have been taken care of by someone else…), then you can make a case that your CEO is spending time where they shouldn’t be.
Note: This is definitely not to make some kind of statement about the relative competence of the CEO, but to show that they’re expected to take on too much. The purpose is to highlight that their valuable time could be better spent on tasks that only they can do, as part of value-investment in the company.
#4. Demonstrate the value-add of an administrative professional
With the breakdown of how your CEO’s time is being spent in-hand, you can run some scenarios that help to justify the expense of hiring an administrative professional. For example, let’s say they spend an average of six hours each week on scheduling and the related back-and-forth; what would it look like if those six hours were redeployed to business development, partnership development or visionary planning?
The reality is, most CEOs who don’t have an administrative professional are spending hours upon hours each week on tasks that really should be delegated out. When you have highly-paid executives handling their own travel and other administrative tasks, it rarely makes economic sense for the business.
If you need to get down to numbers to demonstrate value-add, look at the number of hours spent on those administrative tasks and calculate how much per hour they’re costing CEO time. While administrative professionals aren’t “cheap”, they don’t cost as much per hour as a CEO!
Addressing potential questions
Let’s address some common questions or concerns that CEOs often have when considering hiring an administrative professional:
“I have to do these things”
You’ll often hear “I have to do these things - no one else can do it like me.” More often than not, this simply isn’t true. Administrative professionals are highly skilled professionals and very well-equipped to take on those administrative tasks that a CEO handles alone.
With the right systems and processes in place, it makes it possible to delegate so many things that executives may not have considered before. A documented, repeatable system means someone else can do it too (and APs are great at setting up processes!). Additionally, administrative professionals very quickly learn a CEO’s preferences. They usually end up making choices that are exactly what their CEO would have done.
“I’ve tried an AP before and it didn’t work”
If a CEO has tried working with an AP before, they might consider that “no one is good enough” or that “they just don’t work well with an AP.” With regard to that first objection, there are so many highly competent administrative professionals out there, they’re bound to have simply not been matched with the right one. Pairing APs up to be well-suited to the manner and style of the executive they work with is a huge part of recruiting them, and something we take very seriously at Worxbee.
As for the second objection, some people don’t work well with APs- that’s true. There has to be a willingness to let go of those tasks and to communicate well with an AP, setting them up for success. It’s not going to work if they’re not willing to cultivate a successful working relationship.
On the other hand, if the willingness is there, any executive can definitely learn to work well with an administrative professional. It is mostly about strong communication and being clear about your needs. If given the space to learn how the CEO operates, APs can quickly become invaluable.
“We don’t have onboarding processes for APs”
If you don’t have current onboarding processes, that’s where a company like Worxbee can definitely help. We match administrative professionals with executives, taking into account personalities and the needs of the executive.
Besides that, APs are experienced in working at the CEO level. They are great at coming in and observing how things are working at present, then making suggestions as to where they could take over tasks. You’ll find they don’t need hand-holding, so don’t always require a standard onboarding.
“What about the cost of the administrative professional?”
Sure, paying an administrative professional is another cost to the company, but the flipside is how much it is costing not to have an administrative professional. CEOs are responsible for some of the biggest growth and strategy tasks - the real money-makers for the company. How much more could the company make if they had more time on those things and less on admin tasks?
Hiring an administrative professional for your CEO just makes sense in terms of operational and cost effectiveness. An AP helps to streamline administrative tasks that often take up far too much CEO time, freeing them up for higher-value tasks.
Even companies that already run on a lean model will notice better productivity efficiencies when an AP is introduced into the mix. With better productivity comes growth, and you’ll find that having an EA is well worth it.
Worxbee recruits the best of administrative professionals and matches them with the right CEO. Talk to us today about how we can find a great APfor you.