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Working from Home

How Administrative Professionals Effectively Work from Home

By Industry TrendsNo 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.

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Five Ways to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy

By Industry TrendsNo Comments

To say millennials are important in discussions about staffing in workplaces today is a huge understatement. The reason for this is that there are 1.8 billion millennials (which make them a quarter of the world’s population) in the world.

They make the majority of today’s workforce. Moreover, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials will form 75% of the US workforce by 2030.

Therefore, if you are an employer looking to hire millennials, here are five things it is highly recommended you take note of.

How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy

  • Create A Connected Office

Millennials are regarded as the generation for a good reason. They grew up around the time the internet started to exist. They not only grew up on the internet, but they also live there, and it defines their lives and interests.

If you want your millennial employees to enjoy your workplace, you do not only have to give them access to the internet and the digital space, but you also have to ensure that their work duties and functions allow them to use their knowledge of the digital area and the internet.

  • Make your office diverse and inclusive

By being connected to the internet, millennials are used to conversations with people of different ethnicities, races, and beliefs. They are not only used to diversity; they think of it as the only way to live.

Many millennials claim that they find workplaces with a lack of diversity bizarre and difficult to work in. Thus, if you want to keep your millennial employees happy, make attempts so that diversity is or becomes a priority for your office.

  • Support Causes

Again, millennials who have grown up around the internet have seen plenty of people advancing several causes. As a result of this exposure to advocacy, supporting ethical and charitable causes is second to the average millennial in the US. Many millennials support several reasons or even do advocacy for grounds themselves.

Thus, if you want to keep your millennial employees happy, ensure that you support their favorite cause or charity.  You can also make volunteering a part of your office activities and get your employees involved in community service.

  • Give them Job Training and Development Benefits

Since millennials are in constant communication with people worldwide, they can constantly compare themselves with those who are in the same industry in terms of employment metrics, like working conditions, wages and opportunities for personal development.

Millennials are more flexible than any other generation preceding them. So, you have to challenge them with pieces of training and personal development opportunities that allow them to improve themselves, or they will get bored at your workplace quickly.

  • Above all, care about their wellbeing

Millennials are aware of the implications of work on their health more than any generation before them. It is not just physical health for them. Millennials are now also aware of their mental health. One of the criteria that millennials seek out when they apply to jobs is their mental health.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone, and thus, a lot of millennials are not only looking for workplaces that offer physical wellness programs. They are also after emotional wellness programs for when they are working remotely and isolated.

Simply put, millennials are the workplace leaders of the future, and how happy you keep them is what determines the long-term survival of your business. As an employer, it is mandatory you ensure that your millennial employees are not only challenged but satisfied in all regards.

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Diversity, Inclusion

DEI Initiatives that Have Been Making a Difference

By Career Guidance, Corporate Culture, Industry TrendsNo Comments

As is common in much of the corporate world, C-level support has historically lacked diversity and inclusion. As social awareness has increased in recent years, many organizations have taken actions that have made a real difference in making the C-suite more equitable.

Compile and Analyze Data

When it comes to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, knowledge is power. A company can’t improve its diversity and inclusivity without first understanding how diverse the organization is in practice. One of the most important initiatives one can take is collecting data that can be analyzed continuously. See how the composition of your team compares to other companies in your industry and the overall labor force. Pay close attention to key diversity categories, such as age, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, generation, learning styles, race, language is spoken, etc. By collecting data and comparing it to other companies and your own organizational goals, you will be able to identify problem areas and hold yourself accountable for the goals you set

Identify Problems and Set Clear Goals

By collecting lots of data, you will have the resources you need to identify where you fall short as an organization in diversity and inclusion. Look beyond simple statistics to examine how diverse groups are represented within specific departments and job titles. For example, even if fifty percent of your employees are female, your organization isn’t inclusive if men fill all the leadership positions. In addition, survey individual employees to see if they feel their work environment is inclusive. This can help you identify less obvious problem areas. Once you identify specific problems within your organization that hold you back from being inclusive, you can begin to set goals. Identify what needs to change and develop an action-based plan to move your company to where it needs to be. The plan should address aspects of the organization like hiring practices, job descriptions, company culture, and company policies.

Involve Leadership and Management

Leaders who have decision-making power must be involved in any effective DEI strategy. You must also involve line managers from the beginning of the process. Without the help of leadership, there is no way to make real changes in hiring practices and company policies. Involving line managers is also important because they have a better understanding of what the company’s day-to-day culture looks like and can help ensure that the DEI goals the organization set match up with the reality of the workplace.

Consider Technology and Its Biases

 Technology is one area that diversity committees often overlook. For example, the technology used to hire candidates and evaluate employee performance can rely on data biased against specific minority groups. This bias can range from steering job ads toward certain candidates to flagging candidates for word choice. Thus, it is important to regularly assess the technology used in your hiring and evaluation processes to ensure they do not affect anyone group in an inequitable or discriminatory way. Data, questions, and criteria used to evaluate candidates and employees should be fair and should use measures that are relevant indicators of performance for a given role.

Many companies are actively working on improving the diversity, inclusivity, and equity of their organizations. Strategies that focus on collecting and analyzing diversity metrics, setting clear and measurable goals, involving leadership and line manager, and cutting out biases and technology can make a real difference in improving the inclusivity of your organization.

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Company Culture, Hybrid Work Environment

Maintain Company Culture in a Hybrid Work Environment

By Career Guidance, Corporate Culture, Industry TrendsNo Comments

Many organizations transitioned to alternative working arrangements during the pandemic to reduce the number of people in the office and meet social distancing requirements. Hybrid workplace models continue to trend as some high-profile companies announced that they would be allowing employees to work wherever they want. From employee safety to increased productivity, there are plenty of advantages associated with hybrid work environments. But, if work models like this are left unchecked, they present some unique challenges too. For instance, more companies are struggling to maintain employee morale because they feel disconnected from their colleagues and their purpose. Employee burnout is becoming more prevalent as a result. Fortunately, it’s still possible to maintain company culture in a hybrid work environment with these tips.


Promote a Sense of Shared Purpose

A common concern among many remote employees is the lack of teamwork and shared energy toward overall goals. Business leaders can help their teams overcome this by having regular discussions about shared purpose and how both individual and team contributions are connected to the success of a project. Hybrid workforces need frequent reminders concerning mutual dependencies while avoiding the temptation to micromanage. Instead, leaders should provide remote employees with the right tools and information required to complete work assignments. A sense of shared purpose can still be communicated through email, texts, video conferencing, etc.


Hold Employees Accountable for Results

One of the best ways to remind employees that their work matters is to hold them accountable even when working outside of the traditional office setting. It’s important to remind people that their work matters regardless of where it’s being done. The most successful hybrid work environments will have a good balance of empathetic management and accountability.


Manage Conflict Productively

It can be challenging to interpret people’s emotions during video calls, leading to even more conflict among remote employees. Disagreements are bound to happen in any work environment, but if leaders are proactive about keeping them respectful, then it helps create a positive work culture. Leaders today should encourage differences of opinions and have some standard operating procedures in place for conflicts.


Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Transparent, open communication is the key to maintaining a positive hybrid work environment. Since some employees miss out on the latest updates, leaders have to focus more on keeping everybody in the loop by sending out regular newsletters, updating social media accounts, sharing industry trends, etc.


Successful hybrid work models can require fine-tuning along the way. But, if you’re proactive about promoting a sense of shared purpose, managing conflict productively, and holding employees accountable, then a positive culture is inevitable.

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Customer Service

C-Suite Executives Affect Customer Service

By Career Guidance, Industry Trends, Leadership, TrainingNo Comments

Companies are well aware that delivering strong customer service is essential to customer satisfaction. It affects a company’s reputation, as well as the average lifetime value of customers or clients.

One aspect of customer service that is not always as obvious is the impact that C-suite executives have on customer service. To maximize customer service, C-suite executives should consider the following steps.

C-Suite Executives Should Focus on Employee Engagement to Promote Customer Service

Satisfied and engaged employees tend to deliver better customer service. As such, savvy C-suite executives listen to their employees and encourage feedback. Research shows that companies with higher ratings for customer experience tend to have more engaged employees. They also tend to have more collaborations with HR.

Essentially, engaged and happy employees have a higher willingness to resolve customer issues. They will go out of their way to deliver the best possible customer experience.

C-Suite Executives Should Encourage Meaningful Connections

Another action that C-suite executives can take is to ensure that the company uses social media channels and reviews to create meaningful connections with clients. C-suite executives who incorporate this strategy will notice that consumers are more emotionally engaged with the brand. Research has shown that high engagement translates into more sales.

C-Suite Executives Should Integrate Silos

C-suite executives should also take the time to address any silos, or isolated divisions, within their organization. There are several aspects to this. To begin, silos reduce the level of employee engagement, as employees in siloed departments may not feel as appreciated.

Additionally, it is nearly impossible to ensure consistent messaging when there are siloes within a company. This is crucial, as customers will have an improved experience if messaging is consistent. Consistent messaging ensures that your product design team can deliver what the sales or marketing teams promise. Inconsistent messaging can lead to confusion and disappointment.

C-Suite Executives Should Understand Their Audiences

Any C-suite executive hopefully realizes that their marketing team must understand the audience to appeal to them. However, more than just the marketing team needs to have this understanding. The product design team needs it to create products that customers want.

Most importantly, the C-suite executives need this understanding themselves. C-suite executives are in control of the overall direction of the company. To move the company in the direction that your customers want, you must understand their needs and goals.

The C-Suite Can Include a Chief Customer Officer

The actions of all C-suite executives can affect the customer experience. That being said, many companies have chosen to have a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) who focuses on this. In the case of a CCO, other C-suite executives keep the elements of this list in mind at all times, but the CCO focuses on them.

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3 Reasons Why You Should Hire the Unconventional Choices

By Career Guidance, Industry Trends, Leadership, TrainingNo Comments

The benefits of new perspective are innumerable. However, to make a real difference in a business, hiring one nontraditional candidate probably won’t suffice. Companies must proactively seek this type of candidate every time.

Unconventional Choices Expand Your Talent Reach

Strict instructions for the type of hire you are looking for can limit your talent pool. Today, many job seekers hire someone to post their resumes for them. Basing the hiring process on how a resume looks and reads could mean you hire someone that isn’t who you thought they were.

Looking for a candidate with a specific degree or years of working experience in a similar field, for example, automatically closes out the opportunity for the unconventional choice. Instead, expand your reach and begin looking at resumes focused on your company’s values rather than only job experience in the field.

Often, you’ll find someone with transferrable skills and a passion for continuous learning that will open your business up to a whole new world of creativity and work ethic.

Bringing New Ideas to the Table

The unconventional choice is someone with a diverse or different background from what your company traditionally seeks in a new hire. Hiring someone based on their potential opens up the business to a fresh and unique perspective. They can more easily think “outside of the box” because they have experience solving problems differently.

Thus, the unconventional choice can potentially:

  • Cut down project times
  • Create new solutions yet to be thought of by anyone else
  • Increase worker efficiency
  • Encourage other workers to test the limits of creativity

Unconventional Choices Help to Diversify Your Customer Base

Your employee base should be equally or more diverse than your customer base. A diverse employee roster means the potential to form relationships with every type of customer increases. This is especially true for any business that deals directly with the customer.

Maybe the unconventional choice has experienced highs and lows that your other employees have not. This background gives them a greater opportunity to connect with different customers because they have direct experiences with their issues.

This type of thinking also impacts advertising and sales. For example, an advertising idea could connect with the customers in ways that the traditional employee can’t because they don’t have the same experiences.

According to Harvard Business Review, hiring random people for the job in hopes of diversifying your company won’t produce benefits on its own. You must have a strategy in place. Focus on getting to know a new hire’s potential and deciding how that potential best fits the company.

These changes can all help boost your business in different ways because you took a chance on the unconventional choice.


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Why a Vacation Might Be the Right Decision

By Career Guidance, Industry Trends, Leadership, TrainingNo Comments

After a less than normal 2020 year and many people in America going without work or travel for much of the year, 2021 summer vacations look a bit more promising.

Even before the global pandemic, Americans had 768 million unused vacation days in 2019. It’s time to take those vacation days back! Studies show it’s not only great for employees’ mental and physical health, but it’s essential for productivity as well.

Used Vacation Days Increases Productivity 

According to multiple studies, the work martyr trend continues to gain popularity, and Millennials are some of the main culprits since they now make up much of the workforce. From 1978 to 2000, Americans took an average of 20 vacation days per year, which plummeted to 16 days in 2014. Interestingly, new research points out that taking time off work can improve workforce efficiency.

The Wall Street Journal states that workers that take appropriate time off are healthier than workers that don’t, and healthier workers are more productive. Therefore, companies should urge their employees to use more time off each year.

Companies like Netflix, Glassdoor, and Dropbox first initiated the “Unlimited PTO” trend because they believe that employees that feel cared for work harder and better. They believe that efficient work requires sufficient vacationing to recharge and perform at their best, leaving how long to vacation up to the employee.

Many other companies started softly mandating their employees to take a minimum of two to three weeks off per year. If the employee doesn’t take time off, their boss is supposed to bring it up during their yearly review.

Vacation Days Improves Employee Mental and Physical Health

Not only are vacation days essential for productivity, but they are also essential for worker mental health. The US Travel Association found that taking the proper amount of vacation time improves the worker’s happiness with:

  • Their career
  • The company where they work
  • Personal and coworker relationships
  • Physical health and well-being

When employees are happy, their anxiety and depression symptoms subside as well. According to Corporate Wellness, rested employees are productive employees, but they are also physically and mentally healthier employees.

A Psychosomatic Medicine study, conducted over nine years, found that regular vacations reduce the risk of heart disease in men and women.

Why Employees Still Don’t Take a Vacation

By now, it is a well-known fact that employers want their employees to take vacations, and employees themselves want to vacation. So why aren’t employees taking advantage of their PTO?

Aside from the work martyr complex, here are a few reasons employees work through their vacation days:

  • Feeling guilty for making their coworkers pick up the slack while they’re gone
  • Fearing they won’t receive a promotion if it looks like they are always gone
  • They have no one willing or able to take time off with them
  • Pressures from bosses to meet deadlines
  • Concerned about how much a vacation costs

Most of these fears are anxiety-based. In reality, well-planned vacation time can debunk all of these fears and benefit the employee, coworkers, and business.

The US Travel Association also wants you to save the date for National #PlanForVacation Day on January 25, 2022. Everyone is invited to take time to travel and regroup for the coming year. It’s about time American workers cut into the 768 million unused vacation day tally.


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Invest in Your Employees to Help Them Thrive

By Career Guidance, Industry Trends, Leadership, TrainingNo Comments

People hire great candidates, and then won’t get them the required licenses or tools they need to succeed in the industry. It’s up to you to remove these barriers to success by making strategic investments in employee engagement, professional development, advanced technology, and mentoring. Start by recruiting the best candidates, then enhance their opportunities for success using some of these strategies.

Spend Time with Every Employee

Too many organizations put the needs of their customers before their employees. Great leaders understand the importance of investing heavily in their employees, and the best way to find what employees need to succeed is to go directly to the source.

Great leadership styles prioritize spending personal time with employees to build relationships and ensure alignment. Studies even suggest that leaders should spend up to six hours per week interacting with their employees to boost inspiration, engagement, and motivation. Even ten minutes spent with seven people each week can be an effective way to connect with employees. From taking employees out to lunch to inviting them to conferences, personal time investments are the most valuable because they help create a trusting work environment.


Remote workers also need engagement. How do you do it? A growing number of organizations are appointing Chief Fun Officers to encourage teamwork and enjoyment. Just three or four minutes can change the whole outcome of the day by transforming a hostile work environment into a positive one. Leaders must work through this by setting up zoom meetings, communicating with employees while walking down the hall, and visiting employees where they are. If you ask them to come to you, consider how that impacts them.

Focus on Employee Development 

Training employees and having them leave is better than not developing them and staying with your company. It’s imperative to show new hires that you are dedicated to employee development to keep them from seeking other jobs where their development is central. If you want to be known as an employer who cares, create an environment that promotes continual improvement. These companies win in the end with rosters of loyal, exceptional employees.

If you want to attract and retain better employees, then it’s never too late to start investing in your human resources. Personal time investments are an excellent place to start. Then, focus more on keeping your remote employees engaged. Don’t overlook the power of ongoing employee development, either.


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New Leadership Help Lead Companies Through Hypergrowth

By Career Guidance, Industry Trends, Leadership, TrainingNo Comments

VimpelCom and Compass are both companies that experienced rapid growth around their initial product offering periods. Hypergrowth can be incredibly challenging, with every meeting seeming to focus on overcoming obstacles. Shortages in staffing and network capacity seem to exacerbate the problems.

With proper management and organization, companies can successfully navigate hypergrowth. In some ways, start-ups have an advantage over established companies when it comes to hypergrowth, as they are more flexible and management sits at the top. However, when the right people are in place, midsize and large-size companies can successfully navigate hypergrowth.

The Impact of the Compass CFO

Compass is a company offering digital tools for real estate agents. Kristen Ankerbrandt joined the team as its CFO in 2018. This followed her 12 years of experience at the Carlyle Group and time as a Goldman Sachs investment banker.

Ankerbrandt had extensive experience with acquisitions and mergers, which she applied to Compass. The most relevant of this was her experience with tech companies and investors during growth periods. According to Ankerbrandt, the most vital characteristics of a successful CFO in this position are managing well and being direct.

Her leadership was critical during this time of expansion and growth.

The Impact of the VimpelCom CEO

Compass faced similar challenges during times of hypergrowth during its adoption of cellphones in the Soviet bloc. To prepare for this growth, Alexander V. Izosimov joined the team as the CEO, focusing on management basics.

According to Harvard Business Review, when Izosimov joined the team, all meetings were crisis meetings, with decisions made in panic mode. According to Izosimov, a combination of solid culture and his management strategies helped the company thrive.

Some of those management principles included selling first and asking questions later, not over-focusing on innovation, organizing “like McDonald’s,” having the front line handle decisions, and creating a “can-do culture.”

Do Not Neglect the Rest of the Team

In addition to hiring the right C-level executives for your company’s rapid growth, companies in this phase should prioritize hiring qualified talent for other roles. Remember that one of the many challenges companies in this phase frequently face is low staffing, so an effective hiring strategy is critical.

According to Forbes, the best strategy to find an ideal team includes creating a relationship with the company’s hiring managers, increasing inbound methods of finding talent, and following up on slow hiring processes. Additionally, working with industry-specific recruiters can provide you a competitive edge when successful hiring is crucial.

How to Follow their Example

Both Compass and VimpelCom recognized that to get through hypergrowth periods, they needed strong management with excellent organizational skills. This is an example that all midsize to large companies should follow when focusing on hypergrowth – find the proper C-level executives to provide the necessary organizational leadership.


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Why Qualified People Are Hesitant to Lead

By Career Guidance, Industry Trends, Leadership, TrainingNo Comments

Vince Lombardi said, “Leaders are made. They are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” It’s difficult to argue against one of the most successful NFL coaches in history, especially when research supports his claim.

Research shows only about 30% of leadership is genetic, while 70% results from life lessons and experience. Many excellent and capable employees are hesitant to assume leadership roles. Below are some of the reasons why and a few things that can help organizations identify and develop potential leaders.

Recognize Promising Employees

The first step in getting more qualified people to lead is identifying leadership potential. Then, there’s a fine line between encouraging employees to become leaders and forcing them into positions they are not comfortable with. It’s also important to remember that just because an employee has significant knowledge and on-the-job experience doesn’t automatically mean that they have an innate sense of leadership.

When recognizing potential leaders, start by looking for employees who show an eagerness to learn in their current roles. People who hold themselves accountable for successes and failures usually make good leaders too. Potential leaders will have a history of staying calm amidst challenges and bringing solutions to the table during those times.

Understanding Perceived Leadership Risks 

Recent studies have indicated some of the main reasons why qualified people are hesitant to lead. The degree of interpersonal risk associated with being a leader scares employees. Employees fear that they may have to compromise their interpersonal relationships with colleagues if they chose to become leaders. Others are reluctant to become leaders because they don’t want to be seen differently. In addition, some people are afraid of taking the blame for failure. Fortunately, there are some practical ways to help people overcome these risks and still become strong leaders.

Mitigating the Risks

Many potential leaders in your organization may see leadership as risky. We can help people overcome these additional challenges by including them in significant projects and commending them for their leadership contributions in company newsletters, social media channels, and boardroom meetings. Lastly, career consequences tend to hold people back from leadership opportunities. If you can provide high-potential people with safer environments to maintain their credibility, more of them will be willing to advance their careers.

Since most people aren’t born leaders and may be reluctant to take on new responsibilities, companies have to be proactive in identifying those promising employees and focusing on their development.


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