What is an Executive Assistant? I get this question a lot! Well, every time I say ‘EA’ and if it is the same as a PA (Personal Assistant).
In short, an Executive Assistant (EA) is the pinnacle of the support sphere, the senior directors of the assistance world. Like secretaries and personal assistants (PAs), EAs provide top-level administrative support as standard, ranging from clerical tasks, like handling clients’ accounts, to personal ones, such as managing diaries.
EAs are also highly-skilled professionals that can provide a much higher level of service, from market research and document drafting to managing projects and devising promotional campaigns. They are an extension of the executive they work for and can hold the fort in their absence. Giving their executive improved productivity, more time to focus, a better work/life balance and overall reducing stress levels. It’s why they are so highly-sought after by senior directors.
The question here is do you hire an outsourced assistant or hire in-house?
Here are five reasons why outsourcing to an external EA service may suit you better than having a traditional in-house EA, as well as three reasons it may not.
Reason number one to outsource: versatility
Whether you’re at VP level or a multinational CEO, there will be an EA out there that knows your industry and will vastly improve how you work. This is what EAs do best. They grow, adapt, change and grow again and as they evolve, so do your needs. One month, you may require 40 hours assistance, the next it may be 100, but an in-house EA only has one pair of hands.
External EAs are more versatile and by using an EA/PA service like Finesse Lifestyles means your assistant’s workload changes as yours does: up in busy periods, down in quieter ones. If you need 100 hours assistance one month, you can either increase your EA’s hours or draft another EA onto the account for additional support, before returning to your usual level the following month.
This also means you are not limited to one set of skills. If you require a specialist task to be completed, an assistant with those skills can be assigned in to help.
Adaptability is not always desirable to an executive’s when it comes to an EA. For some executives, being versatile is not needed as such and only needing their assistant to perform the same simple tasks, day in and day out on a routine basis. In this case, a steady in-house administrator may be the best option for the business.
Reason to outsource number two: cover
EA’s ensure that everything runs smoothly in their executive’s absence. But, what happens when your EA is on holiday? Or falls ill? If they are away during a busy period, how can you find a replacement that knows all your preferences at short notice?
External EA services provide seamless transitions in times of absence, so that you are never caught short. Not only will your assistant arrange their holiday around your business to avoid peak times, but another member of the team will be prepped with your preferences and needs before they go away. So, you, the client, are covered all year-round, including over busy periods.
Similarly, if your in-house long term EA/PA was to move after years of service, it would mean going back to square one finding a new assistant. With a service like Finesse, getting a new assistant up to speed with your needs in a moment’s notice, wouldn’t be a problem so you don’t have to worry about an EA leaving you in the lurch.
However, we are of course talking about remote cover. External EAs are available to undertake in-person tasks, such as waiting in line at the passport office, but if you require someone to meet and greet clients on a regular basis, sign for parcels and make cups of tea, then perhaps you would be better suited to the traditional in-house model.
Reasons to outsource number three: Costs
If you use an on-demand service, you only pay for the assistance you need, so you’ll never pay someone to twiddle their thumbs. Secondly, a remote assistant removes the need to pay for desk space or hardware costs. Thirdly, as your EA is a full-time employee of another company, the recruitment costs and other in-house staffing costs.
Reasons to outsource number four: Time saving
Sometimes you know you need support, but you’re not exactly sure what. You’re working weekends and late nights, missing family celebrations and dreading holidays. A great EA will restore that work/life balance, but finding that great EA is easier said than done.
Hiring a new in-house assistant requires placing job adverts to interviewing candidates, drafting up contracts to relaying your priorities, training schedules to managing performance and development.
A specialist EA service such as Finesse take care of hiring great assistants, training them up and managing them internally, so you don’t have to. After an initial consultation, they’ll identify your needs, match you with your perfect assistant and get you going within a week. Hassle-free, as it should be.
Perhaps you may have had in-house EA’s for years and know exactly what you’re looking for and with a detailed job description at the ready, a set list of interview questions and training techniques, working with an external service may seem unnecessary for you.
Some executives prefer to have all the control of the hiring process from placing the job advert to quarterly management reviews and for those executives, an in-house EA is best as outsourcing only works when you can trust a specialist to do the legwork for you.
Reasons to outsource number five: you are the client
Costs aside, hiring an assistant is an employer-employee relationship from paying their salary to gauging their performance, in-house EAs are part of your company,
With an outsourcing service, you are the client and your support is tailored to your needs. If you are unsure if you need full-time or part-time, Your assistant will work to ‘you-time’. Feeling an overload at work? Your assistant is a trusted confidante outside of the company structure, whose priority is you.
An assistants role is still of great importance in business. There will always be busy executives who will benefit from delegating tasks to a trusted right-hand. Only now, there is a way of having all the benefits, without limitations.
Finesse Lifestyles offer remote & on site professional EA/PA help, we have subscription packages that range that would be sure to suit your Personal and Business admin needs.
Visit our website www.finesselifestyles.com to learn how we can help & pricing on our services.