A Pragmatic Guide: Is It Time for You to Hire an Executive Assistant?
A skilled executive assistant can bring a significant return on investment for any senior executive. Their ability to anticipate expectations…

A skilled executive assistant can bring a significant return on investment for any senior executive. Their ability to anticipate expectations and organise critical tasks help executives be more productive and effective in the organisation. On average, an executive assistant can save their senior executives up to 8 hours a week, more or less, which is about 46 days a year.

How do you calculate the value of an additional 46 days of executive time each year?

Whilst there’s considerable value in hiring an executive assistant, many busy professionals struggle to articulate the business case to support this hire. In contrast, after hiring an executive assistant, most executives and entrepreneurs realise they should have hired an executive assistant sooner to unlock the particular value attached to their time.

So the key to a successful executive assistant business case is accurately defining the tasks that can be moved off your queue and allow you to unlock that particular value. Here’s how we do it at Brainbox:

  1. Make a list of everything that you do in a week.
  2. Track the time it takes to do these things, including the frequency of the tasks.
  3. We strongly recommend that you ask your team to do the same.
  4. At the end of the week, take the list and categorise them according to:
    • Repetitive, lower-order tasks that can be done by someone at a lower hourly rate than yourself or your team — these are tasks that can be put on a template, can be taught or followed through an SOP
    • Specific, higher-order tasks where you add value in line with your hourly rate, skills and experience

Once you have a concrete number of hours spent on tasks that can be delegated to someone else, you can then effectively calculate the return on investment when hiring an executive assistant. However, keep in mind that this is just one side of the added value they can provide.

Executive assistants are the single most powerful resource you can have to buy back time. When you engage an executive assistant for your business, you are allowing yourself, your team, and the organisation to do what you do best:

  • Increase capacity for revenue-generating activities
  • Consider and optimise business processes and internal efficiencies
  • Focus on building and fostering client relationships which can lead to more business
  • Dedicate time for strategy and business planning to grow and scale the business
  • Reduce stress and increase workflow which can improve overall company well-being and boost employee productivity

If you want to focus on business growth and efficiency, an executive assistant can take care of your repetitive, transactional daily activities so you can focus on high-level activities that provide value to the business.

Right from the outset, they can help you with basic tasks which require little to no experience while saving you one to two hours a day. Delegating them to someone else with a lower hourly rate can allow you to create time and efficiencies within your schedule to focus your activities on higher-value output on par with your rate.

  • Managing and filtering emails
  • Filing emails and decluttering inboxes
  • Managing calendars to align with your ideal schedule
  • Booking meetings and managing travel times between appointments
  • Formulating basic replies (confirming meetings and venues)
  • Post-meeting thank-you notes
  • Tracking actions arising from meetings
  • Basic data-entry
  • Document formatting
  • Document filing
  • Helpdesk queries

 

After a short while, once your assistant understands your systems and procedures more thoroughly, they can easily save another hour of your day taking care of intermediate tasks.

  • Generating reports
  • Booking events for team get-togethers and Christmas parties
  • Collecting, reminding or following up on tasks
  • Collecting document information from employees or clients
  • Managing receipts and preparing expense claims
  • Preparing standard documents
  • Updating system records such as CRM notes post-client meetings
  • Preparing and issuing meeting agendas, minutes, and action-arising registers
  • Seeking procurement quotes from suppliers
  • Recruitment support including first-line filtering and interview scheduling
  • Onboarding including document collection and coordinating induction
  • Updating client databases
  • Manage contact lists and mail merges
  • Publishing social media updates
  • Assisting with company newsletters

 

Once fully trained, your executive assistant can really help you and your team to focus on company growth. With a deeper understanding of your company culture, your executive assistant can take on advanced tasks which require a higher degree of autonomy, business context and critical thinking.

  • Onboarding new clients or staff
  • Reviewing and finding efficiencies in business processes
  • Documenting policies and procedures
  • Undertaking data analysis and preparing complex reports
  • Managing higher-level meeting agendas, minutes and tracking actions arising
  • Coordinating events and other internal / external group activities
  • Exercising some degree of budget autonomy for administrative functions
  • Coordinating travel arrangements for senior personnel

In some cases, executive assistants even take on leadership roles in the company. Major CEOs from companies like TIAA-CREF, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, LLC., and Saatchi & Saatchi have shared how their executive assistants play a role in their decision-making.

At Brainbox, all our Executive assistants are seasoned professionals who recognise the importance of the relationship between themselves and the executives they support. They work from our modern facilities (no work from home), equipped with fast fibre connection and IT support. To learn more about Brainbox executive assistants, send us an email at inquiries@brain-box.com.au today.

 

Sources:
Melba J. Duncan, The Case for Executive Assistants (https://hbr.org/2011/05/the-case-for-executive-assistants)

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