It’s often a big step for an executive to admit they need a PA. They know they would be more productive if they could hand over the administrative reins that take up so much of their time. Yet they don’t always feel comfortable doing so — or even know what a PA can bring to them.
This is why at our PA recruitment agency, we suggest that employers who are new to having a PA advertise for a temporary one first. That way, they can find out what works and what doesn’t in a less permanent and costly way. However, if you’re one of London’s many PAs, and your executive is new to the experience, how can you make things easier?
When starting a new PA role, especially for someone unfamiliar with the role, it’s vital to take some time to listen to their hopes and concerns. They may have preconceived ideas about what a PA’s role does or doesn’t involve. Alternatively, they may feel unsure about what they can reasonably ask of you or feel uncomfortable passing on the “dogsbody” work.
Find out their thoughts about your role, but also listen to why they need you. What’s their biggest pain point currently? Are aspects of their job not getting done? By identifying key areas such as these, you’ll know where to start and what to prioritise.
One of your first, main goals will be to implement systems that bring things under control. Be it a filing system or database, you’ll likely need to do some strategic thinking about what’s needed.
When implementing new systems, your aim should be to create greater efficiency and accuracy. At the same time, you should ensure that they’re easily understandable to other people. Your executive should be able to use it easily if you are unavailable, as should a temp coming in.
It’s vital to build an excellent working relationship with your executive. It will help make them open to the changes you implement, as well as be open with you about what they need and what they’re thinking. Ask for regular feedback and encourage them to point out what they’re enjoying about having a PA; does it differ from their expectations? You can then move forward together.
Finally, make sure you’re very clear with your new executive about what you need to fulfil your responsibilities — they aren’t mind-readers! If you need all their expenses receipts by the 20th of the month, explain why and send them reminders. For them, handing over things like access to their schedule can feel daunting when they’ve not done it before, so be clear and transparent about why you need things and how it will make their life easier. Remember, they hired you because they need you. Show them why it was an excellent idea.
Want to be a PA for someone who’s not had a PA before? Give us a call on 020 7870 7177.
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