What does a PA Do? and indeed, what is a PA. A PA is Personal Assistant to the manager, department or CEO. They provide administrative support and take care of their boss so that they can
What does a PA do?
Perform their jobs with ease and confidence. A Personal Assistant could also be called an Executive Assistant or even a Virtual PA or Virtual EA. In this article, I will use the term PA to cover all of above.
Being a Personal Assistant (PA) is like being a fine artist. You have to have the ability to see an end product using the raw materials you have available to you. Anticipate the likes and needs of those you are looking after, without them knowing or understanding what they like or dislike. A PA has to be meticulous about their time management, planning and organisational skills and then make these tasks look smooth and effortless. Any PA unable to master these three skills will inevitably find the role as a Personal Assistant difficult. A PA should have their finger on the proverbial button of any activity their boss is undertaking at any time. Not only that, a PA has to anticipate what the boss requires today tomorrow and next month.
So What does a PA do to make sure they are on the ball?
A PAs mantra or go to question should always be “What is the next question” their boss is going to ask. Ensure they can answer that question and then the next question their boss will ask. The standard Who, What, Where, When, Why and How questions should be applied to any and all tasks a PA undertakes. Once a PA has mastered this tool they will start to see and show improvements in their PA ability and demonstrate how capable and competent they are in their role.
All PAs need to demonstrate consistency in their workload and be as enthusiastic on Monday morning at 9 am as they are on Friday at 5 pm. They need to be effective and efficient in all the tasks that they undertake and become proactive instead of reactive. It is recommended that a PA schedules at least 60% of their working day. This will leave 40% of their day to be reactive. We, therefore, advise each PA to plan tasks in advance. Taking note of business deadlines and the expectation is essential. A PA will also have to remember their boss has deadlines that could rely on work they have to do.
PAs Personal Recommendations
We would also recommend that every PA take a few minutes at the end of the day to note at least five successes they have had that day. It is true to say that everyone will have a bad day at work at some point. Noting down any success they have will help any PA remember how good they are. How well they perform their job and organising their boss.
In conclusion, What does a PA Do?
When the role of a PA is performed correctly, it is a work of art. The position is seamless, timeless and a thing of beauty. Their boss will never know the amount of work, effort and organisational skills the PA will put into their role. All of this, to ensure that the boss has a perfect working environment so they can perform at their peak.
The PA is indeed the unsung hero of any organisation. It is time for all PAs to stand up and be proud of the jobs that they do. The tasks they undertake and show what a strong, determined woman can do. For more information about becoming a PA or attending a training course click here.
The PA Tips on this post are those that are highly recommended to become an effective PA. It is also vitally important that a PA keeps on track of all new technology, new ways of working and are open to any PA Tips they can glean from colleagues and even their boss.
Have you ever wondered what your net worth is, as a human being? What your experience from birth to right now, this very moment has made you worth? It is one of those questions we can often think about, but as women never answer or avoid at all costs. There are some women will go directly to their current hourly rate, in employment. There are some who will say instantly say I am worthless and those who will tell you they are worth a million pounds. The truth could be in-between all of the above.
With that in mind, let’s do a little task. This task could take you a few minutes, hours or days (especially if you decide to do the task truthfully). Arrange to get some time on your own, without any distractions, interruptions and in a quiet place that will allow you to think freely.
Now, grab a pen and paper and write down all your qualifications, even those swimming qualifications and gymnastic badges you had as a child. Include any exams you gained from school, college and or university. Don’t forget those extracurricular activities like piano or guitar qualifications. Just write them down and do not re-read them. Once you have finished, turn the piece of paper over. Then, on a separate piece of paper add all the experiences you have had over the last few years. Include your jobs, your home and family responsibilities. These will include your personal responsibilities. Those responsibilities that you do every day without even thinking about it. For example, do you have a pet that you look after or have older parents or younger siblings that depend on you? All of these experiences create value to you as a person. Once you have finished, I would like you to put these two lists away for 24 hours. Don’t read them, don’t look at them, just put them away.
24 Hours Later
Now, I would like you to take your lists and read them.
Read out aloud all the qualifications you have.
Read the list of all your experiences.
Did you find anything on these lists as a surprise?
Do you have more qualifications than you expected, do you have more experience than you realised?
Money is the key or is it?
Just for fun, on your qualifications list and experience list, how much do you think it would cost to get those qualifications and that experience if you were starting from scratch. State education cost per child circa £48,000. A degree can cost up £37,000 (without accommodation and living expenses). That is £85,000 we have had spent on us already, and we have not even started on our experience!
Now ask yourself the question, ‘If you had to pay someone else, with all those skills, what would their hourly rate be?’ It could be argued that this be your net worth.
Personal Reflection on Your Net Worth
I undertook this task a few years ago, and I was surprised and a little intimidated by the person who had acquired all my skills and experiences. We take ourselves for granted so often, that sometimes we just need to stop, take a look at ourselves and congratulate us for what we have done and what we will be doing in the future.
Your net worth is not the amount you get paid. It is the amount of money you would have to pay someone to do what you do, daily.
Depending on your company internal calendar of events and procedures the appraisal process isn’t that far away. Most appraisals start in March/April in preparation for the new financial year. For a PA,
EA and Secretary this is the time when the task of organising appraisals or preparing for appraisals starts. It is, however, worth noting that the business year begins April (often referred to as the New Financial Year), so the business year has another three months to run, (the last quarter). It is, therefore, time to start thinking about what you want to achieve in the final quarter of the financial year and what you want to achieve in the coming year.
As a PA (Personal Assistant), an EA (Executive Assistant) or secretary you may be asked to undertake an appraisal, this could be for junior members of staff. An Appraisal, Performance Review or Staff Review happens once a year. The appraisal gives the employee and the employer an opportunity to openly discuss the previous years working structure.
Some General Guidelines
Appraisals are on an individual employee’s job description. If you are conducting the appraisal you need to ensure that you are aware of the employee’s job description and not undertake a comparison with other employees. You also have to be aware that the appraisal is on their past performance and not on what you would like them to do. That is the value of job analysis and detailed job descriptions.
A rating system may form part of the appraisal process. The rating system could be a numerical, alphabetical system or a combination. All PAs or secretaries conducting an appraisal should be trained on the rating system used. A good rating could result in a pay rise or promotion. It is important that the rating system is robust, understood and utilised.
A Performance review or appraisal is one of the tasks managers hate to do, and employees hate to receive. The entire process can cause sleepless nights for both concerned and create lots of anguish. However, I would like to suggest that you may be looking at a performance review in a rather negative way.
A performance review should be a process that you look forward to and not something to be feared or dreaded. An Appraisal is an opportunity for you to talk to your employer about you. Within the conversation, you will discuss your current role as a PA or Secretary within the organisation and your Job Description. You could also discuss any potential career development or progression that you would like to achieve in the company.
Welcome to the Blog posts of Julie and the team. If you have been on one of Julie's training courses, you know that she is passionate about PA, EAs and Secretaries being the best they can be. She also has very strong opinions about what a PA, EA and Secretary should and shouldn't do.