How to Strategically Onboard an Assistant


The time has come! You’ve hired an administrative assistant. Before you start counting all the hours you’ll save on tedious tasks, you need to formulate a plan on how to onboard your assistant.

One of the most challenging aspects of bringing on an assistant is trusting the person enough to take over assignments such as scheduling, social media, answering phones, responding to emails, and sending out important packages. However, let’s assume you hired a competent, trustworthy individual who you shouldn’t have to micromanage.

Here’s how to get them up and running quickly.

  1. Plan expectations before your assistant starts

    Before your assistant clocks in, make sure you take the time to make a plan. This may be the first time you’ve had a direct report. The worst mistake you could make is to drop a pile of projects on your new assistant’s desk and walk away expecting the tasks to be completed correctly.

    Look at your calendar and set aside the time to outline processes and procedures that can serve as a handy reference guide for your assistant. This small effort will save you tons of time in the future trying to re-explain how to use the postage meter or how to submit an expense report.

  2. Focus on your worst timesucks

    Pick the activities that keep you working weekends or detract from your primary role. Invoicing? Responding to routine client requests? Figure out how to smoothly pass those tasks off to your assistant.

  3. Establish a six-week strategy

    Create a schedule of milestones for your new assistant. Make a list of the tasks you’d like to hand off to the person, and set expectations as to when he or she should be skilled enough to take over those activities.

    Having a schedule will give your new assistant specific direction and a realistic timeframe to adjust to the new position. Revisit those goals week by week to assess progress. You both want this relationship to succeed, and this will get each of you started on the right foot.

  4. Set long-term goals

    Don’t hit your new hire up with everything you’d like them to accomplish as soon as they walk in the door. Remember, they’re starting a new job, which is stressful enough. They’ll have enough on their plate trying to sync with your schedule and anticipate your needs.

    If you’re lucky, a bright assistant will adapt quickly, and you’ll need some new challenges to keep him or her engaged. Envision your long-term goals ahead of time, and it will give you a quick reference guide when the time comes to add to the task list.

  5. Figure out your new schedule

    Ideally, you’ve liberated yourself from hours of banal busywork per week. What will you do with your time? Unfortunately, many fail to make a specific plan on what to do with their newfound freedom and wind up bogging themselves down in more trivial tasks.

    Try to earmark the time savings for activities that will generate more revenue. Reach out to new clients, generate new leads, and attend more networking events that could lead to better contacts. The time is yours, so spend it wisely.

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Tags: Human Resources