In honor of Administrative Professionals Day this week, small businesses should take a moment and reflect on the value of this under-appreciated employee. These people are responsible for optimizing office workflow and juggling tasks pertaining to the business at large while still paying attention to the little things.
Some like U.S. News and World Report have called for an end to the holiday, writing it off as patronizing and belittling. Whether you consider that justified or a whole lot of hubbub over nothing, it's important to talk about the reasons why you should be constantly in awe of the administrative professionals working in your small business.
"Administrative professionals have skills no one else in your office has."
According to SIS International Research, 70 percent of small businesses consider communication the greatest weakness of their organization. Of course, this really refers to a communication breakdown – playing phone tag with clients and coworkers and trying to hurdle obstructions to get the job done.
Many APs know a business's schedule inside out. Depending on the size of the company, maybe much more than the office-wide events and visits from big name clients. An AP is an extra set of eyes on your calendar and can be the first line of defense against conflicts and forgotten appointments.
APs can also be the very first interaction a prospective client has with your business. First impressions can mean the difference between gaining a lifelong customer or losing their fragile interest instantly. General office administrators are expected to divert calls through the proper channels – meaning, they need to deduce which employee can best answer a customer's concerns – and they need to master all forms of office technology. Businesses rely on APs to set up a flawlessly composed conference table – with all the necessary presentation materials at hand – as much as they do a conference call. In the end, these gestures give your company an air of professionalism, all thanks to your AP.
Ted in Finance isn't going to remember to refill the paper towels in the kitchen, is he? The right AP can handle that while proofing an expense report and confirming whether or not an important parcel will arrive today or tomorrow.
This is not a statement about workplace hierarchy. On the contrary, your AP has skills no one else in your office has, namely the ability to juggle 100 different tasks at once. CareerBuilder's list of occupations under the administrative professionals umbrella – including emergency services dispatcher, bookkeepers, and freight agents – only stands to highlight how much APs have to know about the work they do, but also how best to go about doing it. Usually those tasks are divided between employees and managers. APs are both. And since the numbers in your small business are low by nature, two heads are better than one.
Equipment and business industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.