Quiet Quitting: Separating the Symptom from the Cause

By | Hiring Strategies

Quiet Quitting: Separating the Symptom from the Cause

Quiet quitting. What began as a viral video has become one of the most talked about (and written about) topics this year. Is it a valid phenomenon, or is it nothing more than catchy clickbait? To a certain degree, the answer to that question does not matter. Rather than debating the significance of the symptoms, this is an opportunity for leaders to proactively address the more important matter: the cause. While many organizations excel in the areas of employee engagement and retention, the tenor in the marketplace (and perhaps why the original video gained so much traction) is that this is the exception – not the rule. The symptoms indicate that something has shifted; the cause of that shift deserves a discussion.

What’s New?

In the video – which has over 3.5 million views – 24-year-old TikToker Zaid Khan (@zaidlepplin) states that “work is not your life.” This is not a new concept. But assuming that work is a requisite part of life, to view the act of employment simply as a means to an end overlooks the opportunity that purposeful, gratifying, challenging work can provide. When given a choice to do the bare minimum necessary to stay employed, or proactively constructing a professional environment that provides meaning, which would most choose? The latter is the obvious choice, but is easier said than done. And although the need for professional fulfillment is nothing new, the external factors have changed:

  • The pandemic shifted people’s attitudes toward work, creating a time of reflection during which some reassessed the importance of things in their lives beyond work.
  • Remote and hybrid work environments have created employees who feel disconnected from their work, workplace, and coworkers.
  • Lack of boundaries between work and personal life have created, for some, an “always working” dynamic that leads to burnout.
  • New career and early career employees have never “gone to work” and thus have no personal investment or commitment to an organization, its people, or its mission.
  • Lack of organizational focus/attention necessary to keep employees aligned, motivated and moving forward in their organizations and in their careers. “Out of sight, out of mind” is not an effective formula for employee engagement and retention.

Uncovering the Cause

“What is your why?” It sounds like an esoteric question, but why is it that you choose to go to work each day? Why do you choose this profession, instead of something else? Why do you choose the role you are in, as opposed to others?

Encourage yourself and others to press beyond the obvious answer of “I need to make money.”  There are countless ways to earn a living; why have you chosen this one?

Incorporate The Five Whys, which originated within the Toyota Production System and are an integral part of Lean Manufacturing, Kaizen, and Six Sigma. Taiichi Ohno saw the Five Whys as an especially important part of Toyota’s overall philosophy. The process is simple: Just ask why five times in succession to get to the true root cause of the problem. This is a remarkably simple process, but more often than not, we stop at the very first “why” and try to do something about the symptoms rather than getting to the true root causes.

Once you begin to list all of your whys, you will notice they fall in two categories. The first category is similar to Maslow’s lowest hierarchy of needs – food, water, shelter. “I’d like to be able to pay my mortgage.” “I want to send my children to college.” “My elderly parents will rely on me to provide for them.” “I have always dreamed of buying a vacation home.”

The second category recognizes that there is a bigger purpose, a desire to make a difference, and a need to higher meaning behind the choices we make. Both categories are important and not mutually exclusive. An individual who only cares about money will likely live with a void in their life, while an individual who is all about the big picture has their head in the clouds but lacks feet on the ground.

Treatment Options

  1. Acknowledge this is a leadership issue. In his book Extreme Ownership, former Navy Seal Jocko Willink writes: “On any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader is truly and ultimately responsible for everything.” Leadership must address manager engagement first, then re-skill them to be successful in a hybrid/remote working world.
  1. Rebuild the psychological contract with employees. The 20th Century psychological contract was transactional: Employees showed up every day from 9-5, and in return were rewarded with a paycheck and a pension. The 21st Century contract is relational. Employees want a paycheck, but they want challenge, career growth, support, and meaningful relationships. More than ever, leaders must build (rebuild) trusting relationships with their employees. When people feel valued, they are more likely to naturally engage or reengage in their work.
  1. Commit to Offer High-Quality Work. High-quality work means having varied and meaningful tasks, clear goals, and a positive team climate. Particularly relevant today, high-quality work also means having reasonable demands and expectations of workers. Leaders need to be especially careful about not overwhelming people with excessive demands, long work hours, or unreasonable pressures.
  1. Acknowledge and Respect that Employees Have Changed. Quiet quitting is an identity shift. See employees as they are now vs. who they were pre-pandemic. Employees want autonomy over their work, not just in how they carry out their tasks, but also — as much as possible — influence over where and when they work.
  1. Work to Reconnect Employees/Teammates. Employee engagement relies on feeling connected to one another individually and connected as at team to a bigger purpose. Leaders must be intentional in creating interaction and cohesion.

Quiet quitting isn’t new. It’s a new twist on an old problem. But, it has captured people’s attention. As leaders, it’s on us to address it.

Executive Assistant

Networking Tips for Executive Assistants and Administrative Professionals

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Networking is a great way to meet professionals from different fields and areas of expertise. According to LinkedIn, 70 percent of people are hired through a connection. Almost 80 percent of professionals consider networking an essential factor in their career success.

As an existing or aspiring executive professional, networking can help you expand your circle and expose you to opportunities that can further your career.

Where Can You Find Networking Groups/Events?

The traditional form of networking involves attending a conference or a business event. However, today the concept of networking has expanded to other mediums. Most social media sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) promote online events and webinars that offer opportunities for people to network and expand their circle.

While it can be hard to mingle with a group of strangers, you can reap many benefits once you overcome that initial hesitation. Here are some tips you can use at the next networking event.

Be Yourself

People can see when you are being forceful or trying to be someone you are not. Be your authentic, confident self!

Prepare an Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is like a mini overview of your professional accomplishments. It is typically a 30-second pitch that you deliver when meeting new people. The idea of an elevator pitch is to quickly tell someone about yourself and make a good first impression. It is also a great icebreaker as it can give people a topic to talk about. Someone you meet at a networking event may be a C-suite level executive looking to hire an executive assistant. Your pitch can be your first selling point.

Go With a Give-and-Take Mentality

Networking isn’t about finding people who can place you at their companies. Instead, it is about building mutual connections. Share your background, interests, and career aspirations with people and show interest in their careers. Offer help if they need it.

Share Contact Details

If you have met someone who can help you in your career or know someone who can help you, make sure you exchange their contact information. Typically, people exchange their business cards, but you can also add them on LinkedIn.

Follow-Up

After the event, send an email or a LinkedIn message thanking them for their acquaintance. Let them know that you are looking forward to establishing a professional relationship with them.

Suppose you are interested in an administrative or executive assistant career. In that case, executive search companies can help you prepare for interviews and help you get hired successfully at some of the best companies.

Read More

Executive Assistant

How to Effectively Onboard Your New Executive Assistant

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Whether you have just found your executive assistant (EA) or are looking for one, onboarding is an essential step in the post-hiring process. Preparation will ensure the process goes smoothly, not just for your EA but also for you.

Being a CEO, your executive assistant will be tasked to take care of all the administrative and executive tasks, such as scheduling calendar meetings, responding to emails, collaborating with different teams, booking flights, and more. Before onboarding, it is vital to equip them with all the tools necessary to carry out their job efficiently.

We have created this guide to help you, a CEO or a leader, successfully onboard your executive assistant. Let’s get started!

Prepare the Paperwork

Before the onboarding begins, you want to make sure all relevant paperwork is complete. Make sure HR has all the required forms. Touch base with HR to ensure the employee is ready to be onboarded. Some example documents include:

  • Offer letter
  • Job title and description
  • Hiring forms (e.g. W2, I-9, etc.)
  • Tax form
  • Direct deposit details
  • NDA

Contact the IT department

Get in touch with IT to ensure the employee’s badge is ready and has access to the building and required rooms. Also, check if their email address is set up and have access to all the essential folders/files. IT should also set up their workstation with the necessary equipment.

Executive assistants typically use software and applications like Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, Google Meet, TravelPerk, Slack, Smart Receipts, Asana, SnagIt, and more. IT should provide them access to the tools and resources needed to get the job done efficiently.

Prepare the Workstation (If on-site)

If your executive assistant is hired for an on-site role, their workstation should include everything they will need to operate. Some of the essentials include:

  • A desk, chair, lamp
  • Monitor, keyboard, mouse
  • Printer
  • Keys
  • Stationery items (sticky notes, notepad, stapler, pins)
  • Company merchandise (e.g. mug, glass, T-shirt)

Provide Access to Required Files and Folders

As the CEO or the leader, there are files and folders that only you have access to now. However, your executive assistant will need to use some of these files for their day-to-day tasks. When providing them access, remember to discuss confidentiality.

Are you thinking of hiring an executive assistant for yourself? Executive search firms can help you find dynamic and forward-thinking executive assistants who can effectively assist a team of leaders and CEOs in any domain or industry.

Read More

Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant Interview Questions That Provide Real Insight

By | Corporate Culture, Executive Assistant | No Comments

Interviewing a candidate for a job is one of the most crucial steps in finding the right fit for your team or company. While you can’t find out everything about a candidate in an hour interview, there are certain questions that can give you a better insight into what the candidate is all about.

If you are a high-level official (C-suite) looking for an executive assistant to join your team, you know how important it is for the candidate to be the right fit.

We have compiled some interview questions that can help you better assess and filter your candidate so you can make an informed decision.

Technical Questions

Describe your computer skills. What software do you use to organize your tasks and improve productivity?

Skilled executive assistants can organize data in spreadsheets, schedule calendar meetings, and create well-written emails. Apart from Microsoft Office and Google WorkSpace, executive assistants are well-versed in many other softwares.

What process do you follow to book domestic and international travel?

As a CEO or a leader, traveling is an essential part of your business. The executive assistant you hire must be familiar with everything that travel entails, including keeping note of delays, cancellations, layovers, car booking, and more.

Describe a great executive assistant in 3 words.

Summarizing a whole role in 3 words can be tricky but the words they will choose can give you an insight into what they perceive the role to be.

Behavioral Questions

Tell me about a time you worked on projects with similar deadlines. How did you handle it?

This question is a good judge of how your candidate prioritizes tasks and handles pressure. As a CEO, schedules change pretty quickly and your ideal candidate is someone who can refocus and readjust according to the changing needs.

Give me an example of a time you had to solve a complex issue for an executive. Did you get any help?

While executive assistants are great at handling tasks on their own, they also need to collaborate with people on other teams to complete tasks. Therefore, people’s skills and team-building skills are also crucial to this role.

How do you handle conflict?

No workplace is free of problems. When dealing with different people in different departments, your executive assistant can come across difficult people or scenarios. A cool, calm, and, collected person knows how to handle conflict and avoid drama in the workspace.

Are you looking for a top executive assistant to manage your day-to-day tasks efficiently? We can help you find dynamic and well-rounded individuals for your team.

Read More

Executive Assistant

How to Make Travel Plans for Your Boss

By | Corporate Culture, Executive Assistant | No Comments

Business travel is crucial to a business’s long-term success. Business travel brings in clients, opportunities, and helps a company expand its foothold. As an executive assistant, when your boss is traveling, the responsibility of taking care of all the travel-related logistics falls on your shoulders. From booking flights to reserving hotels— there are a lot of things that go into planning a streamlined travel itinerary for your boss.

In this article, we will cover some useful insight on how to effectively make travel plans for your boss.

Find out the budget

Every company has an allocated travel budget. Make sure you know how much can be spent on the trip. Businesses sometimes have partnerships with companies that offer travel at discounted prices— check if there is a better deal available.

Check travel requirements

Every country has specific requirements for visitors who are traveling for business or pleasure. Depending on which country your boss is traveling to, there may be certain travel requirements that he will have to consider. For example, does your boss need a visa to travel to that specific country? Does he need certain vaccinations? Keep such contingencies in mind and begin planning a few weeks in advance to cater to these requirements. Also, make sure your boss’ passport is on a date and has empty pages in case a visa is required.

Know your boss’ preference

Some bosses are particular about certain aspects of travel. For example, they may prefer an aisle seat over a window or want a digital boarding pass rather than a printed copy. Ask your boss what their preferences are and plan the trip accordingly.

Create an itinerary

Before travel, sit down with your boss and create a travel itinerary for the travel days. What will his schedule look like on day one? Who will he meet and at what time? Details such as getting into the shuttle and getting to the airport, to meeting an executive for lunch—everything should be listed down in the itinerary. This will give your boss a clear idea of what’s next and remove any confusion or miscommunication between you both.

Research the culture

With international travel, you need to keep certain things in mind. Every culture has norms, e.g. way of greeting, eating, or even tipping. Briefly update your boss on these details.

Account for the unexpected

Unexpected changes can happen during travel. Maybe your boss’ flight gets delayed. What should you do in that situation? If it’s an overnight delay, you would have to book a hotel for him. In another situation, their flight may reach earlier than expected, and you now have to coordinate the new time with the pickup service and the hotel staff. Always be prepared for the unexpected!

Working as an executive assistant can be challenging yet rewarding. If you are planning to further your career as an executive assistant, consider working with executive search firms that can place you at some of the top companies.

Read More

Executive Assistant

The Best Executive Assistants Have These Things in Common

By | Corporate Culture, Executive Assistant | No Comments

Executive assistants are the force majeure on every successful executive’s team. The EA serves in multiple roles, such as scheduler, gatekeeper, coordinator, strategic liaison, advisor, manager, and problem solver – all before lunch!

In addition to running the office, the great executive assistants support the busy executive with their days’ professional and social demands. The scheduling doesn’t stop there. They will make sure there’s also time for family obligations. Assistants are successful only when their executives meet their goals and responsibilities.

Suppose you’re an executive in today’s dynamic business world. You need an expert executive assistant to help you meet the demands of your role in the company while still maintaining a work-life balance.

What every outstanding executive assistant has in common

Are you ready to look for your EA? You may already have a checklist of characteristics and skills in mind. They could include anything from being bilingual to understanding zoning regulations for commercial buildings.

However, recruiters who screen candidates for EA roles have identified the traits required of top assistants. The best executive assistants are a combination of several characteristics.

When it’s time to hire an assistant for your executive office, look for:

  • Superb communication skills in speaking, writing, and listening. This includes posting on social media as appropriate, listening to team member concerns, and reporting potentially volatile situations.
  • Tech-forward thinking that includes a willingness to recommend and use new technologies.
  • Vast networking capabilities because an EA won’t know everything, but they always know someone who does. It’s one of their secrets in getting so much accomplished.
  • A sense of professionalism that mirrors your corporate culture. Your EA will be ready to meet and greet stakeholders, lead a meeting, or conduct an interview at a moment’s notice.
  • An ability to handle stress in any situation. Meeting tight deadlines, coordinating travel itineraries and making sure you’ve signed your kids’ field trip permission slips are all part of a day’s work.
  • The person who will best represent and sell your brand. You can count on your EA to represent you and your company the way you do.
  • Collaborative skills include involving a variety of stakeholders in tasks. Great EAs rely on teams to make their magic happen, and the person in this position knows how to delegate for maximum efficiency.
  • Someone with sharp anticipation skills. Every EA’s superpower is its ability to anticipate your needs before you even articulate them.

Finally, confidentiality is critical when hiring for the role that will support your work. Executive assistants keep delicate information a secret. Your EA will be loyal and discreet, much the way we recruit candidates for your executive assistant position.

Read More

Woman Assistant

Tasks You Should Be Delegating to an Assistant

By | Corporate Culture, Leadership | No Comments

A study by Harvard Business Review shares that senior managers and executives work in excess of 60 hours per week. The study also suggests that most executives spend large portions of their weekends and vacation time working as well. Admittedly, senior executives have a lot to do—investor meetings, managing teams, planning, crisis management, project tracking, email triaging, etc.

With increasingly fewer hours to spend on personal development and with family, time can often feel scarce. Putting in long hours can feel like the solution, but it isn’t. Throughout the day or week, executives spend time on tasks that do not require their specialized skill set and eat into their productivity. These can be accomplished by an assistant instead.

Let’s look at the tasks an assistant can execute on your behalf, so you can prioritize the things that truly matter.

What Tasks Should You Delegate To Your Assistant?

Here are some of which you could delegate to your assistant.

Managing Emails

Do you regularly check your emails to ‘stay on top of things?’ While it may seem like the least time-consuming activity, a study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute suggests that an average of 13 hours a week are spent checking emails!

A large percentage of emails clogging your inbox is just promotional or spam, and having an assistant to sort through them allows you to focus on important tasks that require your active attention.

Bookings and Reservations

If you travel frequently and spend hours searching for accommodations, the best deals on flight reservations, refunds, car rentals, etc., then perhaps it’s time to consider delegating these tasks to an assistant. An assistant can make all your reservations ensure that your travel and food-related preferences are met, and your itinerary is optimized so that you can focus on your meetings and relax in your downtime.

Organizing Appointments and Scheduling Meetings

Organizing appointments and scheduling meetings is another task that requires more attention than necessary. Constantly updating your calendar, searching for openings to schedule meetings, re-scheduling previously set appointments—these are tedious tasks that genuinely don’t require your attention and can easily be handled by an assistant.

Research and Reports

Most senior executives spend an unnecessary portion of their time collating data and making reports and presentations. An assistant can take the burden of research off you, irrespective of whether you want information on the background of a particular client or if you wish to gather data for a meeting. Yes, assistants are trained to be adept at research, and you can make informed decisions without spending hours sifting through data based on their findings.

Personal Errands and Support

Your assistant can handle multiple personal errands for you—from booking doctor’s appointments to scheduling children’s birthdays, shopping for presents for important occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, house warming parties. Assistants can also help you stay ahead of overdue communication, check on aspects such as car repairs, manage your social media, and more.

Managing everything alone is a Herculean task, but it doesn’t have to be. An assistant’s support can be crucial to taking small-but-significant things off your plate, ensuring your day goes smoothly. Work with us today—we make finding the proper support for you easier.

Read More

Woman Executive

How Top Leaders Manage Their Time and Increase Impact

By | Corporate Culture, Leadership | No Comments

According to Allan C Stam, the Dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, leadership is the art of getting things done. And while many leaders are adept at resource management (people, money, etc.), they struggle to find time to get things done.

Experts suggest that a time audit, time management measures, focus on sustainable productivity, along with a reduction of phantom workload can help people get things done efficiently and eliminate workplace stress.

While there’s no universal formula, here’s a list of five strategies to help leaders manage their time well and increase their impact.

How Leaders Manage Their Time Efficiently

Senior executives will agree that leadership is a mix of clarity, purpose, knowledge, and fortitude.

Here are some ways you can maximize your impact.

Plan Realistically

You can’t plan every second of every day. Things are bound to go wrong, and plans will change. This is normal. This is life.

And while we can’t control everything, we can create efficient schedules to increase our productivity, set deadlines to remain focused, and deal with procrastination-triggering stress wisely. Other strategies to consider include goal setting and downtime—starting early and frequent breaks—which can help increase productivity levels.

Prioritize Purposefully

Do you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to complete everything on your list? Then maybe it’s time to revisit how you prioritize.

Ask yourself these questions so you can be more purposeful when prioritizing:

  • Is it important or urgent?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much effort will it take?
  • Can you delegate it to someone else?
  • Is this expected of you, or do you want to do this?
  • Would someone in your team perform a task more effectively than you?

If you can assign tasks that do not require your active attention to someone else, you can focus your time and energy on being more productive.

Delegate

A “can do” attitude is a valuable attribute, but a “can do it alone” attitude is not. Leaders have teams for a reason—each team member has a strength or skill that makes them valuable, and leveraging these strengths helps leaders better manage their time. Should executive-level help be required, hiring an executive assistant is prudent.

Assistants can be gatekeepers, email organizers, calendar setters, stand-ins for meetings, researchers and more. Simply getting the right kind of help and delegating tasks that don’t require your expertise and time can bringa degree of efficiency to your day.

Find Your Rhythm

By “find your rhythm,” we mean pay attention to how your individual productivity works:

  • What motivates you?
  • What hours of the day are you most energized?
  • What environment helps you focus better?

Once you understand the optimum conditions that boost your productivity, you can maintain these conditions. This way, you can remain consistent in your work.

This also expands to discipline. Motivation comes and goes, but a disciplined schedule will keep you on track for success.

Boundaries Are Important

Even the best planners can feel overwhelmed if boundaries aren’t established and maintained. Overpromising or taking on too much can lead to delivery shortfalls and unintended consequences such as client dissatisfaction. Leaders can exemplify sustainable productivity by being realistic about how much can be achieved, saying “no” when appropriate, and reinforcing boundaries.

Better time management is key to personal growth, goal achievement, and creating a productive work environment.

Being a leader entails shouldering many responsibilities, and we at understand that it isn’t easy. We can help you find an efficient assistant so you can delegate by design and get the maximum out of your time.

Read More

Are You a Great Boss?

By | Corporate Culture, Leadership | No Comments

Are you a great boss?

Think carefully about your response. Your answer to this question matters significantly, especially when you’re hiring an executive assistant. In our work connecting top executive suite talent, we’ve learned that A-list executive assistants know precisely the type of boss they’re looking for.

We’ve also discovered that the interview is reciprocal. While you’re interviewing for your next assistant, the EA candidates we send out are interviewing you. They’re gauging whether you’re the type of person they want to work for.

And they’ve told us what characteristics they want to see in their next boss.

7 Characteristics of a Great Boss

As much as executives may share similar communication and management styles, each person is uniquely different. Your beliefs, experiences and values can affect how you manage your employees.

During an interview, executive assistant applicants try to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a way to gauge whether their skills fit your leadership style.

Great bosses are known for:

  1. Communicating frequently, honestly and with transparency. They don’t play “gotcha” games, and they state positive or negative facts without blaming or yelling. They provide honest feedback and give specific praise.
  2. Distributing the workload equitably. They don’t overload the employee who never complains about having too much work, and they don’t play favorites by letting others have a lighter workload. They also don’t micromanage.
  3. Putting together exceptional teams. They find and retain the best and brightest employees, which improves the skills of all team members. The camaraderie experienced among team members keeps them together, and they become stronger as a whole.
  4. Avoiding blameTheir approach in righting a wrong is to identify the challenge, correct it and move on. They’ll hold employees accountable, but they don’t look for fault.
  5. Finding greatness in those who work with them. The best bosses recognize and reward employees for work done well. They also make sure their employees have the training and development opportunities to excel and move forward in their careers.
  6. Demonstrating integrity. They are professional and honest – the kind of person employees trust. They also build trust by doing the right thing for the right reason. If they say they’ll do something, they follow through.
  7. Showing compassion for others. They understand that employees have lives outside the workplace. They’re sympathetic when personal needs occasionally infringe on the workday, possibly allowing for remote work options when an employee has to keep a sick child home from school.

Being the type of boss people want to work for comes down to managing your own emotions before you manage anyone else. That means treating your colleagues and employees with respect as well as valuing their opinions and work.

When you create an inclusive and supportive corporate culture, you’ll discover that the best executive assistant will want to work for you!

Read More

Working from Home

How Administrative Professionals Effectively Work from Home

By | Industry Trends | No Comments

As the world moves toward remote work being normal, the demand for Administrative and Executive Assistants has skyrocketed. Administrative and Executive Assistants serve high-level officials (C-suite) such as a company’s CEO. They maintain project schedules, work in alignment with the company’s goals, and provide daily developments and frequent updates to the higher-ups.

Due to a shift towards remote assistance, administrative professionals can no longer sit outside the CEOs’ office or quickly step in for an update. The dynamics have changed quite drastically.

While working remotely can be challenging at times, here are some ways administrative professionals manage to work from home effectively.

Define Work-From-Home Hours

It’s easy for remote employees to lose track of time when working from the comfort of their homes. This is especially applicable to Executive Assistants working with busy CEOs who often work beyond office hours.

However, a professional work commitment demands prior settlement of working hours. That is why Executive Assistants define working hours and set availability and response times in advance.

Set-Up Regular One-on-Ones

CEOs usually don’t have time for daily one-on-ones. However, effective Administrative Assistants still set up quick daily huddles every morning to go over the day’s calendar and ask any questions they have. They may also schedule bi-weekly video calls to discuss the overall progress and updates.

Decide Communication Modes

Although email and messaging apps such as Slack and Zoom can fulfill basic communication needs, they may not always be effective in every scenario. For urgent needs, Administrative or Executive assistants set predefined modes of communication in order of priority and stick to them.

Computer-Savvy and Using the Right Tools

An ideal Administrative Assistant has a Bachelor’s degree and is well-versed in Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and calendar management. They may also use Trello, Basecamp, and Asana to organize, designate, and monitor tasks.

Executive Assistants deal with people who are constantly working on various projects daily. Therefore it’s also essential for an Administrative or an Executive Assistant to have project management skills to excel in their fields.

Dedicated Workspace

Working from home may provide flexibility, but it can compromise your focus and productivity. A vast majority of remote assistants have designated workspaces at home, allowing them to give undivided attention to work and focus on the tasks at hand without interruptions.

A successful career as a remote Administrative Assistant starts with finding the right recruiting agency. A seasoned recruiting agency provides excellent resources for Executive Assistant interview preparation and matches you with companies that align with your personal and professional goals.

Read More

Female Leaders

Female Leaders Proven More Likely to Coach and Mentor

By | Leadership | No Comments

Women make up more than half of the labor force in the United States and earn almost 60 percent of advanced degrees, yet they bring home less pay and fill fewer seats in the C-suite than men, particularly in male-dominated professions like finance and technology.

Research suggests that the male presence in the majority of senior leadership positions does not indicate that men possess better talent than women, but rather there is no significant indication of better performance in a specific gender. In fact, many studies consider women to be more likely to excel in leadership and mentorship roles.

Female leaders are proven more likely to coach and mentor successfully for many reasons:

Less transactional and more strategic relationships with employees

While men use networking to advance their careers, women tend to use their networks for both support and relationship building. Women’s presence in the upper echelon can enhance the social networking and mentoring opportunities of other women in the organization.

Women tend to be kinder in leadership roles

Kindness is rarely ever associated with leadership. However, some form of reassurance, compassion, and empathy can make a huge difference in your team’s dynamics. According to studies, women tend to be equalitarians, sharing evenly with peers while men tend to be more individualistic. Effective leadership demands kindness. In fact, leadership in itself is an act of kindness.

Women trend more emotionally intelligent

When it comes to empathy and self-regard, women tend to score higher than men. Studies show that women are more likely to identify emotions and subtle cues of emotional expressions.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman considers higher emotional intelligence a major trait of ineffective leaders. A leader or a mentor needs to connect with people at a deeper level to make an impact in their lives. These traits help them support, coach, influence and resolve conflict among individuals and teams effectively.

Most people imagine leadership to be a male-dominant field. For example, qualities such as confidence, independence, and assertiveness are frequently associated with men. We hardly ever think of empathy, kindness, relationship building, or collaboration to be leadership traits. This is a bias handed down to us since our childhoods. It is time we change these narratives and think of leadership as an amalgam of traits that cater to both a variety of qualities and attributes.

Mentoring is critical for team growth and talent retention. Are you doing enough to support your team? Hire a recruiter today to find the next leader for your team!

Read More

Executive Assistant

Your Executive Assistant Interview: Questions the CEO Must Avoid Asking Support Staff

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Legal restrictions prevent CEOs from asking support staff possibly biased questions in interviews. That’s a good thing!

When interviewing support staff, avoid asking questions like these:

  • How many children do you have?
  • What church do you go to?
  • When are you planning to retire?

Some questions are better left unasked out of respect for the candidate. Avoid asking any of these questions:

  • Do you have to wear that scarf on your head?
  • Why are your clothes so dated?
  • Is that your natural hair color?

Instead, try asking open-ended questions based on work-related scenarios.

 Questions the CEO CAN ask support staff in an interview

It can seem like there are a lot of questions you can’t ask in an interview. Rather than focus on what you can’t do, try these more positive questions that reveal behavior:

  • Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
  • This job sometimes requires working after 5 pm or on weekends. Often, tasks like making reservations or scheduling meetings can be done from anywhere. Could you commit to working like this?
  • What prior experience do you have that would be useful in a job like this one?
  • Tell about a time when a challenge prevented you from completing a critical task.

Applicants can use the STAR method for answering questions: explain the situation, task, action, result. For example:

  • SITUATION: Two days before a major holiday, our company held a quarterly board meeting at a retreat. Weather forecasters predicted severely inclement weather – the kind that could cause significant travel delays.
  • TASK: My job required that I secure travel arrangements home for board members and the C-Suite. Most of them were flying.
  • ACTION: I worked with the other executive assistants to create several backup arrangements, including car rentals and chartered grand transportation. We also secured hotel reservations, just in case. Then we made “survival bags” consisting of bottled water, snacks, and a few other necessities for each person.
  • RESULT: As it turned out, air travel was canceled for only a few hours, so everyone made it home safely. The survival bags were a big hit!

Open-ended behavioral questions allow candidates to respond in more detail, especially when using a template like STAR.

About the vaccine

Applicants are curious about vaccine requirements for work. Some candidates may find that the provision gives them peace of mind, while others may decide they cannot comply for various reasons.

No current laws prevent you from asking about someone’s vaccination status. Still, it’s better to let your HR department explain your company’s requirements. The applicant can then decide if they can agree to the condition or are better off finding work elsewhere.

Need help figuring out the questioning process? Your recruiter can help by vetting the candidates you interview. If you are the candidate, the recruiter can help you prepare for questions.

Read More

Executive Assistant

Executive Assistants Are Vital for Growing Start-Ups

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Entrepreneurs growing a start-up find that one critical staff position is crucial to early success: the executive assistant.

Some CEOs balk at the idea of hiring an assistant right out of the gate. They want to avoid appearing too pampered, too self-centered, too corporate. Start-ups, after all, are supposed to be independent, aggressive, and robust. Why would the CEO want to delegate any responsibility to an executive assistant?

The real question is, why wouldn’t the CEO delegate to an executive assistant?

Every CEO Must Have an Executive Assistant

The most important reason to hire an executive assistant for your start-up is to give you the time to focus on the business matters that only you can handle. Your start-up is your vision, and you already devote most of your waking hours to its success.

The executive assistant is your chief of staff, the person who will take care of all the tasks you don’t have time for. If you have the financial capacity to bring one employee onboard, hire the staff position that will grow with your company and help develop your vision.

The Many Chiefs of Staff Duties

An executive assistant (EA) is invaluable to your success because of three critical skills:

  • Prioritization: An EA will prioritize workload, meetings, and who will be allowed to interrupt your work. Probably no one, including your mother-in-law, will get past your EA gatekeeper.
  • Organization: Count on your EA to know where to find everything, from your accounting documents to local zucchini lasagna that melts in your mouth. Your EA can even tell you where the latest version of your pitch deck is filed.
  • Communication: Well-known for their communication skills, EAs will initiate conversations via email, phone, and virtual meeting software. They’ll also make sure you have the words you need for expressing ideas. The EA hires copywriters and speechmakers.

You’ll find that your EA can meet demanding deadlines, handle impossible tasks with grace, and apply emotional intelligence in situations that would unnerve 5-star generals.

Eventually, your executive assistant will become your chief of staff, overseeing other assistants’ work in the workspace you created.

Hiring the Executive Assistant for Your C-Suite

Once you hire your c-suite, the executive assistant becomes your center of operations, often handling multiple roles simultaneously.

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, including start-up entrepreneurs. How you use these hours is up to you.

Hiring an executive assistant can give you the additional hours you need. With an EA onboard, you can build your business, practice work-life balance, or even catch on your sleep at night.

To make even better use of your time, turn to an executive assistant recruiter who can help you find the right person to make that happen.

Read More

Support Staff that CEOs Need to Succeed

By | Leadership | No Comments

Hiring support staff is a critical investment that new CEOs can and must make quickly at the corporate helm in their first few weeks. Anyone taking the reins of a billion-dollar company recognizes that they cannot do everything or be everywhere themselves. Instead, they must have a support staff that is strategic, tactical, and can influence others.

Many first-time CEOs focus on implementing new initiatives that will meet the goals set by the board. Corporate leaders want to hit the ground running, likely deferring the hiring of their staff until much later.

They continue to work with the staffing system already in place. Maybe the current organizational system is working. More than likely, however, it can’t adapt to and keep up with the changes the new CEO wants to make.

Therefore, the CEO must hire support staff to succeed.

The Right Support Staff for Every CEO

CEO support falls into three strategic areas: communication, information control, and traffic flow. Patrick Aylward (Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey identifies the roles and duties this way:

  • Air traffic controller – Handlings systems and logistics for the senior leadership team and the CEO.
  • Integrator – Coordinating systems and information between departments and divisions so that no one works in isolation.
  • Communicator – Managing public, media relations, and corporate philosophy between company leaders and other employees.
  • Honest broker and truth-teller – Identifying challenges and opportunities without bias
  • Confidant – Listening without advocating for a personal or political agenda.

Hiring multiple team members devoted to these five areas enhances the CEO’s ability to make rapid changes. In many cases, that’s what CEOs establish. They hire a Chief of Staff and several Executive Assistants. 

Support Staff Characteristics

The difference between good support staff and great support staff lies in their skills and their attitudes about the role they play.

The most outstanding support staff:

  • Understands the corporate culture
  • Wants to see the company succeed
  • Collaborates with stakeholders at all levels
  • Demonstrates exceptional executive functioning skills
  • Initiates tasks independently
  • Works with little supervision
  • Communicates well verbally and in writing
  • Uses software management products with proficiency
  • Maintains high levels of confidentiality

It seems like the CEO’s support staff must have the strategic acumen of Sun Tzu, the confidence of Joan of Arc, the wisdom of King David, and the compassion of Mary Poppins.

In reality, however, finding the right CEO support staff is a task made simple. It merely takes working with recruiters who know what successful corporate leaders need and where to find the talent to support them.

Read More

Why You Need a Chief of Staff

By | Leadership | No Comments

Corporate and non-profit CEOs share one common element: they need a Chief of Staff. The chief of staff in any organization is the CEO’s right hand, managing a plethora of activities, information, and staff.

The chief of staff, often along with multiple Executive Assistants, creates the synergy necessary for the organization to operate effectively. No other person can communicate across various levels and throughout various departments as effectively as the chief of staff.

The person holding this position promotes the corporate culture, shares the company philosophy, and manages executive functions.

The Chief of Staff Coordinates C-Suite Functions 

While your chief of staff will work directly with you, they also have other responsibilities since this role is responsible for seamless c-suite workflow.

Your chief of staff will:

  • Prep materials for meetings and schedule their date, time and location.
  • Develop and distribute internal and external communication, including emails, newsletters, presentations, speeches, reports, white papers, and more.
  • Organize special corporate events
  • Take on project management responsibilities for annual strategic planning
  • Monitor and update KPIs
  • Supervise the work of those who support the CEO and c-suite management

When you’re not available, your chief of staff will be. That can keep your leadership team functioning all the time, not just when you’re in the office.

Scale-up your Business Wisely

Sometimes businesses decide that scaling up means adding more. That means more initiatives, bigger goals, and an expanded staff of C-Suite leaders, like a COO.

That kind of thinking can jeopardize your corporate success and damage your career. Hiring a leader like a COO is a costly strategy that your company might not yet be ready for, especially in the early stages of corporate growth.

How do CEOs scale when adding expensive positions isn’t an option?

Savvy CEOs hire a chief of staff, and here’s why:

  • Time is everything, but there’s not enough of it in the day. The chief of staff does the things you don’t have time for
  • No one knows your business better. This person serves in the role of confidant, allowing you to pitch an idea or muse about possibilities effectively.
  • Streamlined services save money. No one recognizes cost-saving initiatives like your chief of staff, who will likely have sound recommendations for implementing ways to save money.
  • You gain another channel for communication. Keeping teams informed and up to date can be difficult. A competent chief of staff and a team of executive assistants can get the word out so you can get on with business.

Corporate and non-profit CEOs can’t afford to lose out on the one staffing position most likely to help them succeed and advance the company goals.

The time is now. We can help you find the chief of staff best suited for your needs.

Read More

Executive Assistant Salaries Have Skyrocketed Since Pandemic

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Executive Assistant salaries are often money well spent in any company. This position supports the role of the executive, serving as the company’s senior management liaison for communication and planning.

Since COVID-19 erupted worldwide, executives have become even more reliant on the one hero or heroine that holds it all together during global panic: their executive assistant.

As a result, EA salaries have been on the increase.

Skills for the job 

EAs are experts with technology, whether they coordinate electronic meetings and calendars or keep up with messages in software apps like One Note and Telegram.

Other duties include:

  • Initiating and responding to communication
  • Taking notes
  • Conducting research
  • Planning events
  • Preparing reports, data, and meeting materials
  • Coordinating travel on the ground, in the air, and by sea
  • Training assistants and support staff
  • Maintaining office supply inventories

Since the pandemic, many EAs have redefined their roles by spearheading new initiatives. For example, executive assistant Ratna Sreerangam asked his travel industry CEO for permission to assist customers needing airline refunds. With no other travel permitted during the pandemic, a strategy like this can keep a business afloat until flying is once again permitted.

Executive assistant preparation and training

Most training takes place on the job, but an EA will have to meet foundational requirements, such as having a high-school diploma. In some fields, having a bachelor’s degree might complement the executive office needs. A law office might require that a senior EA have a law degree. Similarly, a construction firm might favor EA candidates with a degree in construction sciences.

The EA might also earn software proficiencies and have certificates verifying their competency. They may also take advantage of other professional development opportunities that will help them excel in their jobs.

Executive Assistant salaries 

With excellent job and communication skills, a versatile EA can earn a good salary.

Industry and location can play a significant role in salary. For example, the average annual EA salary is $53,199. At Walmart, EAs average $75,865, but the same job pays $101,073 at Paramount Pictures.

You may have heard that, despite the salary increases, there are fewer EA positions available. Positions are down by 4% and are expected to decrease more. Still, top-notch EAs are more in demand than ever because many senior executives share executive assistants – especially those who take the initiative and redefine their roles.

Now is the time to reach out to hire the executive assistant that will help you be more successful.

Read More

Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant Questions That You Must Ask

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Preparing for the executive assistant interview means developing a set of key questions that will give you enough insight to make a hiring decision.  These questions will allow you to assess the candidate’s fit for the job.

Before you meet with the interviewee, take these two critical steps for a successful interview.

Preparing for the executive assistant interview

First, when developing an interview question, avoid any query that can be answered with a simple “yes”or “no”. Instead, ask open-ended questions that will require explanation. You’ll be able to see the candidate’s thought process, and you’ll have a better understanding of how your future assistant will handle challenges.

Next, section your interview questions according to the skills for which you are looking. These can be categorized in three groups: the job itself, behavior, and communication.

Job skills

Providing support for an executive requires diverse skills.

Ask:

  • How do you prioritize your day?
  • What computer experience do you have?
  • Which software programs do you use most?
  • If the executive for whom you work has simultaneous engagements, how would you handle the conflict?
  • Explain how you would make travel arrangements for an executive who needed to fly to a speaking engagement.
  • How do you handle confidential information?
  • If you had to set up a half-day meeting for executives, how would you plan it and be sure that everything would be ready?
  • What’s your most significant professional accomplishment?

Behavioral skills

The person you hire for this role should have the necessary skills and characteristics to get tasks done completely and confidently.

Ask:

  • How would you handle an emergency if you are already busy working on a project with a deadline?
  • What are your thoughts about occasionally working from home evenings, weekends and holidays?
  • Explain how you maintain flexibility in your daily schedule.
  • How do you keep your work-life balance amidst hectic schedules?
  • What do you do when things don’t go the way you planned?
  • Who has been the most challenging person to work with – and how did you handle the difficulty?

Communication skills

Also known as soft skills, these characteristics will establish a candidate’s ability to communicate with others.

Ask:

  • How do you prioritize your day?
  • Tell about a time you had to deal with a demanding visitor or caller, in person or on the phone.
  • Describe your process for writing an email for the executive to send.
  • What three words describe the perfect executive assistant?
  • Tell about a time you had to think on your feet. What was the outcome?
  • How do you handle constructive feedback?

Finally, ask the candidate you interview what questions they may have for you. Both of you should walk out of the interview knowing clearly whether the job is the right fit.

If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to contact a recruiter who knows the industry.

Read More

CEO

What Sets the Best CEOs Apart from Others

By | Leadership | No Comments

As the leader in any organization, the Chief Executive Officer holds an exceptionally visible position of power and influence.

The CEO’s job includes setting the mission, visions, and goals, motivating the executive team, collaborating with stakeholders, representing the company and its values, and developing a solid work-life balance.

How does a board find someone who can execute these tasks flawlessly?

As it turns out, the board can’t because perfection doesn’t exist. It isn’t even preferable. Instead, hiring boards should consider these five characteristics.

  1. Education and Experience

Many boards tend to seek out leaders with degrees from prestigious universities. There is little correlation between the stamp on a sheepskin and the recipient’s ability to lead an organization.

What does matter, however, is the CEO’s willingness to learn and apply their knowledge and previous skills to help to make decisions.

  1. Personal Characteristics

Many people identify extroverts as the best CEOs because they are charismatic leaders. In reality, introverts perform better in this role, quickly meeting or exceeding their goals.

While confidence may land a candidate a CEO position, it does not affect job performance.

CEOs are willing to confront others when necessary. They don’t hide from challenges; they meet them head-on. Those who excel in their roles focus on meeting their goals – and winning.

  1. Best CEO Decision-Making Habits

CEOs who can strategize and make decisions quickly excel over those who do not. 

The reason is simple: executive-level leadership requires decisiveness. CEOs must make decisions confidently, even when there’s little time to respond to developing situations. Making a mistake is preferable to making no decision at all.

Those surrounding the CEO prefer consistent and immediate decision-making to uncertain delays.

  1. Getting Buy-In from Others

Those in the top position in a company seek feedback and gather diverse viewpoints. These viewpoints may shape the CEO’s decision, but the decision is based on facts rather than popular opinion.

Top CEOs prefer to hire people with the skills they may be lacking; these employees often become trusted advisors.

  1. Strategy-Building Skills

Not everyone can see the big picture, but that’s what the CEO does. This role requires eagle-eye acuity for envisioning how all the parts work together. Those who work with CEOs often describe them as:

  • proactive proponents of change for the right reasons
  • committed to thinking long-term
  • trustworthy individuals who follow-through
  • positive and predictable
  • makers of bold moves

Not everyone has the skills and mindset to be a CEO. To be the best at the top position in any company requires a unique set of characteristics. As it turns out, no one thing defines a successful CEO. The most successful, and ultimately the best CEOs, are a combination of everything.

Read More

Corporate Woman

More Women Left Corporate Jobs During the Pandemic

By | Leadership | No Comments

The pandemic has completely transformed perspectives about work, especially for women. In the 18 months since COVID-19 appeared, more than half of working women are less optimistic about their job opportunities than they were before a novel virus took the world by storm.

For women in corporate jobs, the future appears even bleaker.

How the Pandemic Exacerbated Conditions

During the pandemic, many women who had corporate jobs reverted to traditional roles.

They found themselves in the position of being the caretaker for everyone around them. These women provided emotional support and encouragement for their employees on their teams.

During the lockdown periods, these same women were also the support system at home, assisting their children with virtual learning, checking on relatives, and holding the family together. Women traded their career aspirations and took on greater domestic responsibility.

As a result, the women burned out quickly.

Difficulties Women Face in Corporate Jobs

Landing a job in corporate America isn’t easy as a woman. It’s even more difficult as a woman of color or LGBTQIA.

Many corporate women have experienced the broken rung syndrome: making their way up the corporate ladder is nearly impossible because the first step in moving up is often disconnected. It’s so shattered that getting to the second rung is a tremendous hurdle.

Corporate roles require considerable face time when managing or leading teams of employees. During the pandemic, women:

  • experienced higher stress levels than men (74% compared to 61%)
  • burned out quicker than men in similar jobs
  • earned less than men for the same job
  • left the corporate workforce at a rate of 3:1 compared to their male counterparts

Women gave up the positions they worked for on the ladder. In doing so, they also may have given up their opportunity for further advancement.

Changing the Outcome

The good news is that the future doesn’t have to be bleak.

Companies can – and should – encourage women to return to their places in corporate positions. These five steps can help women step up over that first broken rung of the corporate ladder and on to richly satisfying careers.

  1. Offer greater flexibility 

Allow employees to take time off when needed. Some companies have experimented with unlimited paid leave. If that’s too big of a leap, try a smaller commitment of a few days at a time.

  1. Align accountability with financial incentives 

Too often, performance metrics don’t match up. Reward results rather than time spent in the building.

  1. Consider diversity when hiring 

More than numbers, diversity thrives when people of different backgrounds, races, and experiences work together.

  1. Eliminate bias and identify promotion trends

Make sure equitable performance reviews identify accomplishments and any need for professional growth accurately.

  1. Listen when women speak

Women in corporate jobs find that their ideas and contributions are often suppressed.

With your help, the women who shouldered the burden of the pandemic will be back, stronger and better equipped to lead companies forward.

Read More

Woman CEO

More Women Running Fortune 500 Companies Now Than Ever

By | Leadership | No Comments

The climate change happening in the business world, albeit a slow progression, sees steady growth in acceptance of women running Fortune 500 companies. The companies that have taken the step to hire women CEOs have made interesting discoveries. Some women carry specific traits that help them not only land these top positions but thrive in them.

According to Fortune, women running Fortune 500 businesses in 2021 hit an all-time record high of 41, two of which are black women – another first.

Given women’s history in business, these records are worth celebrating, and Korn Ferry states that the celebration will continue with foundations like The Rockefeller Foundation starting initiatives like the “100×25” initiative. An initiative to hire 100 Fortune 500 women CEOs by 2025.

So what is it that helps women stand out as leaders that can profoundly change organizations for the better?

3 Traits Women Running Fortune 500 Companies All Possess

According to Forbes, McKinsey published research titled “Women Matter,” with proof of how differently women CEOs run things. The main finding suggests that women leaders implement at least five of the nine most important leadership behaviors to improve organizational performance, whereas men tend to lack in this area.

The five behaviors most commonly referred to by women include:

  • People Development: Teaching, mentoring, and listening to individual needs as a top priority.
  • Expectations and Rewards: Clearly defining expectations and rewarding when targets are met.
  • Role Model: Focusing on building respect and being a role model for the company.
  • Inspiration: Presenting a compelling vision of the future that inspires workers to implement the changes necessary to get there.
  • Participative Decision-Making: A team atmosphere where everyone is encouraged to participate in decision-making.

Aside from these behaviors, there are 3 personality traits that women CEOs possess as well:

  1. They are driven and committed to the success

It takes women an average of four more years than men to make it into leadership positions. During this time, women spend their careers in a number of different roles, companies, and industries. By the time they make it to the CEO, they are ready to commit to the company and apply their wealth of experience.

  1. They are devoted to positive workplace culture

In Korn Ferry’s study, 25% of women were proud of the positive culture they created in their companies. Women understand that for the company to succeed, it starts with the workers, and workplace culture is one of the main things that can make or break a company.

  1. Most have STEM or substantial financial backgrounds

Nearly 60% of all women in business have a definable background in STEM, business, finance, or economics, as posted by Korn Ferry. This type of knowledge serves as a catalyst for success, whether male or female.

Still, women know they have to work harder and prove themselves more than men do. This is a tide that is beginning to shift but still exists, nonetheless.

Women make it abundantly clear how beneficial it is to start from the bottom and climb your way to the top. Most women are forced to start in lower positions than men, but it only proves to help them succeed later on when finally promoted to CEO. Women continue to prove how resilient, courageous, and agile they are in business. They have the ability to revolutionize the modern-day workforce.

Every company that hires a woman CEO brings that reality into fruition.

Read More