Executive Assistants are one of a company’s biggest and potentially most powerful natural resource. EAs are the backbones of their companies, the right arms to their managers, and the face of the company culture – even in the virtual world. But, here’s the bad news: Historically, they are also the most underutilized, underleveraged, and undertrained members of the team.Corporate workplace training for executives, assistants and managers

The fact is, most of the nation’s 10 million Executive Assistants are still self-taught regarding everything about their jobs. They have succeeded in their roles in spite of the lack of support and training. Traditionally, they have not been included in Continued Professional Development (CPD) budgets.

As the Harvard Business Review has pointed out: “Everyone says that learning is essential for companies’ success — and for your own. And yet, on a daily basis, who cares for your learning? No one. People care about what you have learned. They care about your results. Learning is great as long as you do it quietly, in your own time.”

And on your own dime, I might add. This old model is not working anymore, especially in a workplace rocked by the pandemic. The old rules don’t apply. The workplace needs to respond to the urgent needs of the administrative staff.

Even though training for Executive Assistant has the potential to boost company profits, improve employee productivity and build more powerful relationships between managers and assistants, it is still a fairly new idea in the 2020 workplace. Most often, the reasoning is that EAs don’t have a direct impact on income generation, and therefore the ROI cannot be quantified.

That is faulty reasoning. After all, if an EA’s work is able to save her/his executive one hour of time per week, that saved time has a dollar value. A high one.

The first time I knew that training was an issue among admins was during the Q&A after a presentation in 2006 at a big pharma company. A woman stood up in front of 200 fellow admins and said, “First, I want to thank you for coming because it was really great. Second, I have been at this company for 30 years and this is the first time there has ever been any program for the administrative staff.” The look on her face and the silence in the room that followed has never left me.

Why train EAs now?

In the aftermath of 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008, the workplace was thrown into turmoil in both situations and caused the role of EAs to change dramatically. As a result, many found themselves filling the gaps and functioning in part as project managers, and holding significantly more responsibility. An important note is that this happened without changes in EA titles, job descriptions, or compensation.One on one executive assistant training sessions - online

The increase of responsibilities is driving the need for training. What’s more, support for training is a major factor in job satisfaction and employee retention among administrative staff (and all staff for that matter). It is even more important than a salary increase. This is why professional development is not an option anymore for companies that need their backbone to be strong, skilled, and resilient in a volatile and competitive global marketplace.

Be the Ultimate Assistant Fills the Learning Gaps

Be The Ultimate Assistant workshop - training for executive assistants

I created Be the Ultimate Assistant workshops out of frustration. I looked around and saw a severe lack of high-level education for the Executive Assistants, namely me. As I worked with my executive, Oscar winning actress Olympia Dukakis, as her Personal & Executive Assistant. I would ask myself this question. How can I be as great an assistant as Olympia is an actress? When I searched and could not find the answers, I decided to write the book and design the workshop myself.”    Bonnie Low-Kramen

Since 2010, hundreds of students have attended the Be the Ultimate Assistant workshop and 10% have attended numerous times. The workshop has been named in the Top Conferences for Executive Assistants to Attend in 2019 and 2020.

Be the Ultimate Assistant training features the topics that matter most to Executive Assistants and the leaders they support. In an intense and highly interactive 2-day program, students dive deeply into the following.

  • Leadership
  • Mentoring & Networking
  • Communication
  • Business Partnerships with Executives
  • Organization
  • Event Planning
  • Travel Planning
  • Disaster Planning
  • Handling Workplace Bullying
  • Career Management
  • Computer Technology Tips & Tricks

While compensation has always been an excellent incentive for employee retention, the number one motivator for admins costs nothing. It is respect. If you doubt this, just ask them and give them license to be candid without repercussion. Training is one of the strongest demonstrations of respect.Business partnerships with executives - career training for assistants

The most profoundly meaningful and long-lasting investment you can make in your staff is to believe in them enough, trust them enough and support them to learn. Knowledge is power, and it is also a bottomless source of loyalty, commitment, and profits. Isn’t the backbone of your company worth that?

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