April is Administrative Professionals Month and while gifts of roses are lovely, what matters more is to commit to investment in training for your administrative team. Here’s why.
One of the sometimes hidden golden (human) resources in a company is the administrative staff. This is the group of staffers who are 87% female and who, back in the long ago day, were referred to as secretaries.
In 2022, many members of this group are now considered part of the ELT – Executive Leadership Team – and as vital and respected business partners with a welcome seat at the table. They are spoken about as the backbone of the company, the right arms to leaders, the eyes, the ears, and the face of the company culture. Pretty important body parts.
They are the tech whizzes who make your PowerPoint deck shine and organize your all-hands meeting flawlessly on Zoom. They see around corners and know what intel you need before you know you need it. They remember your favorite hotel in every city. They remind you of your direct reports’ birthdays weeks ahead of time, complete with ideas of what to give, including a spreadsheet of gifts given in the past. Cue your sigh of relief.
If this is true about the administrative staff in your company, then no doubt you are looking to hold on tight to them. In addition to being paid fairly, one of the things they want most is training.
Here are 5 reasons why training your administrative staff needs to be a no-brainer.
- The workplace is complicated and changing by the day. You need your administrative staff to be up to date and leading edge. Training is the only way that happens in the workplace of 2022.
- Investing in training sends a message that they are worth it. Whether it is tuition reimbursement for an undergraduate degree or the fee to pay for a technology certification or a leadership course, if your staffer is committed to learning that which makes sense for their role, don’t hesitate to spend the money.
- The ROI is huge. Employees who feel valued by receiving training go above and beyond, even when no one is watching. They are the ones who raise their hands to volunteer and run towards a problem rather than away from it. On top of that, administrative staff who are trained end up teaching others which increases the ROI even more.
- Saying yes the first time you are asked for training matters. One CEO admitted that he does not respond to requests for training on the first inquiry. He waits until he is asked a second time as a way to gauge “seriousness.” The problem with this is that many administrative staff will take the “no” as the final answer and not ask again. What they do instead is to look for another job that will pay for training headed by leaders who respect their staff and don’t play games.
- In a post-pandemic world, make annual training budgets an expected norm rather than a unicorn perk. Historically, the administrative staff has not received training specific to their role. Most of them know what it feels like to fight for training dollars. To add insult to injury, they also have been told that they need to take vacation days to do their training which seems like an unfair penalty that is often not told to any other level of staffer. Rather, choose to be generous with training and include the paid time off to do it.
In the United States, my students report annual training budgets range from $500-$5,000 per year/per employee, depending on the size of the company. Some staff report that the budget is unlimited. To include an annual training budget built in as part of the compensation package is highly attractive to job candidates. This feature makes it a question of what training will be taken rather than if the staffer can take a class.
In light of the Great Resignation in a post-pandemic workplace, the bottom line is that training your administrative staff will motivate them to happily stay and can make all the difference when it comes to morale, productivity, and company profits.
Administrative Professionals Day is Wednesday, April 27. Be sure to recognize your administrative staff by investing in them.
Written by Bonnie Low-Kramen.
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