Posted: 14th August 2017
Administrators can be seen as a luxury, an optional extra and I wanted to explain a bit more about the value of hiring a professional virtual administrator, and why in the long run it can bring so much value and is such a good investment.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “administrators are like gold dust” (read my post The Evolution of Blue Ninja Consulting). Many companies don’t realise the value in their administrators until the administrator leaves. Years of knowledge and experience walks out the door. Administrators are being asked to do so much more within the scope of their current job (and usually with the same salary). I was at Office Show in London, UK on 1-2 March 2017 and was very concerned to hear about Personal Assistants (PAs) that used to manage between 1-3 Directors are now being expected in some instances to cover up to 6 Directors or more. That’s a very troubling thought. Is there an expectation that the PA can do all that work at the level they have been doing it in the past? Probably not. I suspect the compromise is that the PA will just have to deal with it. It’s such a worrying situation and one that I don’t think will change back to a more manageable situation.
A virtual administrator can be brought in to help share the load, ease the burden on the team as much as possible. We are excellent at our jobs and we care about the end result. The value we add is as follows:
1. A virtual administrator is only needed when needed
I know of many companies that don’t even know they can hire a virtual administrator. Traditionally the scope of support as really only been full-time and temporary (temp). I have been a temp, it’s hard work, and the expectations of my support were very misaligned with what the company actually required. I was brought in to support a Board meeting over 2 days that was very technical. I tried my best and I did a reasonable job, but what that company needed was a consulting administrator who has been briefed on the business and could adequately prepare for such an important meeting.
By recognising what specific skill-set is actually required at the time means a company can bring in an administrator who has a high-level proficiency with that skill. A Blue Ninja such as myself has a broad skill-set, but it doesn’t mean that I’m an expert in everything. Administrators find their talents and work hard at maintaining and growing those talents. If they don’t know, they will find out and learn (on their own time) to become more proficient. I’m a whizz at managing administrative processes, projects and people – grants programmes, meetings and conferences – I anticipate and plan with my very detailed, logical mind. I love it, I want to do well, and I want whatever I’m working on to be a success.
Companies could consider hiring a virtual administrator to assess and advise on what administrative support is needed. This can save so much time and money in the long run as the company will know what administrative support they need most and bring in administrators with those key skills, with clear deliverables. Administrators can also help train and bring other administrators up to speed if necessary – there are so many possibilities to the support a virtual administrator can provide.
2. Hiring temps will not solve the team’s administrative burden
Companies want to save money. Administrators, secretaries and office support staff are usually the first to go when it comes to the crunch. In order to balance this loss, companies turn to agencies to bring in temps to fill the void. I must be honest here – in many situations you get what you pay for. The chart below shows the UK national minimum wage rates that will come into effect in the UK as of April 2017.
A search of a national administrative job website shows temp administrator positions are hiring between £8 – £13 per hour for receptionists, administrative assistants, data entry administrators, medical secretary, business support, customer service and more. Senior administrators are coming in around £12 -£14 per hour on a search of the same website. Positions that require someone to be the ‘professional face’ of the company, relate to customers and stakeholders, understand and support the needs of the team and the company are earning just above the UK national minimum wage.
How long does that temp last for? Is there are a relationship of trust and commitment that can be developed with a temp? I’ve heard about companies that have hired temp after temp and in the end re-established a full-time administrative position because they were spending so much more on hiring than they had for the position. Companies need to account for agency costs, staff time and team frustration at the turnover of support staff.
A professional virtual administrator will likely start from £25 upwards. Don’t be shocked. This should be expected if you’re getting someone with the level of training, experience and skills that we have. Think of us as being at the level of executives and managers. We are valuable, and by giving us a chance we can really show you what we can do. Administrators are at the heart of companies – we’re the hub of everything. Want to plan a meeting – who do you go to first? Who runs your office? What team can operate without an administrator? Think of what you would do if you didn’t have an administrator supporting you, then think of what value you place on that person versus what you pay.
3. You do not need to pay all the extras with a virtual administrator
What you see is what you get with a virtual administrator. Companies do not have to pay tax, leave, sick pay, equipment (extra fees) for this wonderful person. We pay tax ourselves, we train ourselves, we have insurance, we have contracts and legal support, we have our own office setup – it’s a dream come true! Why are companies not using virtual administrators more and more? As I mentioned I suspect many companies don’t know we exist. The usual channels of hiring are used time and time again. The value of a virtual administrator cannot be understated. We know our stuff, it’s why we’ve gone into business offering administrative services. We want to help, we want to build a relationship of trust and commitment with a company so we can be useful when an administrator is needed.
Sometimes, and if negotiated, there may be small extras. You may expect some expenses such as stationery, phone/internet costs, postage, but you’re not going to get charged above what is used, and we track everything. If you need a virtual administrator to travel to your office or for you at times, we can do that, and we do it in a way that takes into account the most efficient way of travelling, utilising cost-saving options where possible. We track our time and use online tools to maximise our efficiency, many tools you won’t even have heard of.
Virtual administrators are very careful about client confidentiality, and we make sure we have strict protocols in place to protect our clients and their information. We work with companies and maintain procedures to protect data, and we are mindful of what information we have and where it’s stored. If you’re not sure about how a virtual administrator works, please ask. I’m very happy to talk through my data procedures and tools with my clients – the more relaxed a team is with how I work, the better I can support the team.
4. All the cards are stacked for companies to win by using virtual administrators
What negatives come from using a virtual administrator? I can’t think of any. Companies win every time. We’re fast, efficient and careful with our time. We know you’re paying for what you get, so we make sure we use our time wisely.