… and would you tell your current employer if you were?
Earlier this year, New York City-based The Execu|Search Group issued a caution to employers. As economies recover, Execu|Search has been approached with increasing frequency by one employee group: currently employed Executive Assistants. Execu|Search’s Kim Caruso explained, “When the economy collapsed, employees who worked on the administrative level were the first ones to be let go. Unfortunately, although we are in a state of recovery, budgets for administrative staff still remain low.” As a consequence, Caruso noted, “… one executive assistant might have to do the work of two or three. Therefore, highly talented administrative professionals are coming to me overworked, stressed, and discouraged.”
This recruiter understands the cost of losing a skilled EA or AA who is proactive rather than reactive, and suggests that most managers would want to know their Administrative Professional (AP) is considering a career change, or already job hunting. As Caruso explained, though, “Most of my candidates looking for new jobs feel they don’t have the opportunity to tell their employer they don’t feel appreciated or have too much work. Their employers typically don’t find out their EAs are unhappy until they give their notice.”
Caruso suggested managers invest time to evaluate their EA’s workload and initiate regular meetings to touch base. I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that, no matter how demanding the work environment, a manager who hasn’t already collaborated with his or her EA/AA to schedule and follow through on regular meetings shouldn’t be shocked if the Administrative Professional (AP) feels uncomfortable approaching him or her with concerns about being spread too thin or unappreciated. Meetings need not be in person; I know one exceptional EA whose boss maximises both his driving time and blue tooth investment by regularly phoning her during his morning commute. This EA and her boss – the CEO – are a solid team, in great part because of the frequency and openness of their communications, and their organisation benefits as a result.