Digital Disruption: Evolution of Responsibilities

Think back to your first admin. job. Depending on your generation, the tools of the trade may have included two pieces of hardware … except that, in the 80s and 90s, the term “hardware” was more typically used in the context of those stores where you bought hammers and nails.

That’s right. There was no reference to hardware on your desk; instead, you would refer to your typewriter (typically an IBM Selectric) and your dictaphone transcriber – or “machine”. Yes; that’s how we spoke.

Whatever the terminology used, desks today contain more sophisticated hardware, and more of it. Not all panelists use a PC but, combined, my international Digital Disruption panel members rely on a range of equipment ranging from an iPad to an iPhone, label maker, laptop, PC, printer (personal and communal), scanner, shredder, and a Surface Pro 4.

Just as admin. professionals use different resources to perform their roles in 2017, the nature of those roles continues to evolve.

 

Web and intranet publishing

Do you have responsibilities for publishing to a website or intranet?   Julia and many of her colleagues publish news to their company’s intranet, which is an internal web-based network. None of our panelists, however, publish to their employers’ outward-facing (public) websites. Instead, at each of our panelists’ organisations, there’s a dedicated Communications, Marketing or IT team focused on website monitoring and publishing.

In comparison, 46% of respondents to my May 25/17 Weekend Poll reported that web publishing does represent part of their jobs.  When it comes to publishing to an intranet, a full 55% of respondents to the same Weekend Poll reported that they have such responsibilities.

 

 Social media

Communications practices have also evolved, and social media is increasingly a tool of choice. Sofie’s employer uses Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, while MistiLynn’s uses all channels.

In Janice’s office, it’s LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Helen’s Not-for-Profit (NFP) relies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for its messaging, while Julia’s uses Facebook, LinkedIn, its own blog and Twitter.

In many instances, the same dedicated teams who publish to companies’ websites also manage monitoring and publishing to social media. In London, however, Janice has recently begun posting updates to her executive’s social media accounts as part of her routine.

In Norway, Julia strives to add to her company’s visibility on social media. She’s seen as an ambassador for Basefarm, and promotes events and publications by sharing them on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. As such, her company’s Marketing Department often asks her to promote specific events, articles and press releases.

While many admin. professionals choose to maintain separation between their social media and work lives, I can think of two Chiefs of Staff and some other C-Suite admin. professionals who adroitly share noteworthy corporate / organisational news on their personal social media accounts.

In Sweden, Sofie also posts positive news about her employer, Academic Work, on her personal LinkedIn and Twitter accounts – but that’s not part of her job. She does so of her own initiative, because she’s proud of her organisation and her colleagues. Helen, who is based in Winchester, England, is typical of a number of admin. professionals who leaves workplace social media to the dedicated team. However, she herself takes on that responsibility for her professional association, the South Hampshire PA Network.

When I asked readers in my May 25/17 Weekend Poll about social media-related job responsibilities, only 23.5% reported that they post to social media as part of the job. When it comes to monitoring social media, though, a whopping 83% reported that this is part of their jobs.

Social media’s influence on purchasing decisions

 

It’s little wonder that social media is used for directed marketing, particularly when you consider some other results of my May 25/17 Weekend Poll.

I asked readers about their workplace purchasing recommendations and decisions. I asked you how relevant, on a scale of 1 (low relevance) to 5 (high relevance), social media reviews are to your assessment or decision making process. A full 50% of respondents rated social media’s relevance to such situations as 4 or higher. Here’s the breakdown.

  • 1 out of 5 – I don’t review or take social media feedback in account when making such decisions: 6% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5 – I may occasionally check reviews, but it’s not part of my routine: 22% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5 –If I’ m unfamiliar with a supplier or product, I find social media reviews helpful: 22% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5 – I typically do a social media scan or make a query of my network/peers to see if there’s any relevant info 39% of respondents
  • 5 out of 5 – My assessments are incomplete without being informed by at least some check on social media: 11% of respondents  

 

I also asked readers to use the same scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high) to assess how relevant are social media reviews to your assessment/decision making process when you’re planning off-site events. In this case, the percentage of respondents who rated social media’s relevance as 4 or higher jumped all the way to 61%.

  • 1 out of 5 – I don’t review or take social media feedback in account when making such decisions: 11% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5 –  I may occasionally check reviews, but it’s not part of my routine: 22% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5 – If I’m unfamiliar with a supplier or product, I find social media reviews helpful : 6% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5 –  I typically do a social media scan or make a query of my network / peers to see if there’s any relevant info: 50% of respondents
  • 5 out of 5 – My assessments are incomplete without being informed by at least some check on social media: 11% of respondents
Does your job description reflect these realities?

Intranet or web publishing and social media monitoring or publishing are just some examples of how this career has changed. Have you looked at your job description lately? If not, it may be a good idea to dust it off and assess whether it’s current and reflective of the skills you employ, and the functions you fulfill.

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