Administrative Professionals’ Day is a time to recognize the significant role secretarial specialists play in the workplace and how it has evolved from the days of simply answering phones. Whether you have one in your office already or are considering hiring one in the future, admin assistants, secretaries and receptionists can be some of a business' greatest assets. Often, these employees are responsible for much of the organization and scheduling that occurs within an office. Admin professionals work in almost every industry including schools, government, hospitals, and private businesses handling the following types of tasks:
Managing various projects
Maintaining multiple executive’s calendars
Handling travel arrangements
Preparing and editing reports
Ensuring quality service and products
Maintaining databases and filing systems
Performing payroll duties
Since “National Secretaries Day” began in 1952, admin professionals have taken on many diverse roles beyond basic office duties. So, what does today's admin professional do and how do you decide if you need one in your organization?
Executive secretaries and admin assistants work at the executive level providing high-level support for top executives. Their responsibilities are complex and can involve everything from scheduling to research and reports. Some executives may share an admin assistant while others may have their own. Depending on how the office is set up, an executive assistant may also supervise other staff.
Legal secretaries must have a vast knowledge of legal terminology and procedures. Often, they are responsible for fielding calls regarding a variety of legal issues including divorce, child custody, lawsuits, or wills. Legal secretaries can also create paperwork connected to court cases such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas. These assistants work under the supervision of an attorney or paralegal. They also help with legal research by reviewing journals and old court documents to verify citations.
Medical secretaries must have a vast knowledge of science and medical terminology as well as codes, medical records and hospital procedures. They may transcribe dictation from medical professionals and use it to prepare reports or articles. Medical secretaries also take simple medical histories of patients, arrange for hospitalization or process insurance payments.
If you’re handling all the admin tasks by yourself right now, and struggling to get it all done efficiently while still maintaining your schedule, you may want to consider hiring an admin assistant or secretary. This person can help keep you and your business on track. Here are some criteria to consider when seeking the most-qualified candidates.
- Organization. First, you want an organized person since he or she will be responsible for files, communications and schedules.
- Writing skills. Considering admin assistants write memos and emails (sometimes on your behalf) to managers, employees and customers, you want them to write professionally with good grammar.
- People skills. Sometimes, the secretary is the first person customers or staff see when they walk in the door. You want to choose one who can effectively communicate with every person who's served.
- Integrity. When selecting an admin assistant, be sure to pick one who is trustworthy. Think of all the sensitive information your admin assistant might come across, and the potential harm he or she could do if they lack a strong moral compass.
Secretaries and admin assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties that are necessary to run an organization well. They help you collaborate, coordinate and communicate both internally and externally to keep things from falling through the cracks. In many cases, admin professionals are the glue that holds your business together. For more expert PEO insight on how to choose the best candidate for the job, download our free resource, The Employer’s Handbook for Avoiding Hiring Mistakes.