As a business owner or executive who needs an assistant, there are much better options than hiring an employee to work as your assistant.
I’ve worked with small business owners who know they need an assistant, but have decided for one reason or another that they’ll just hire their own, and everything will be fine.
Sometimes it works, but often it doesn’t. What can go wrong?
Hiring an employee, if done right, is a drawn out detailed process. Placing the ad to attract just the right kind of person who loves administrative tasks takes time and thought. Then sifting through resumes, checking references, administering tests and then weighing scores is a project – exactly the kind of project you don’t have time for, because you need to get that sort of task off your plate.
Even if you manage to get through the hiring process, you then have an employee who needs to be on the payroll, including taxes, vacation time, benefits and all the related paperwork.
But there are two other more serious issues of hiring an assistant that can derail your efforts.
The first is realizing you have hired the wrong person. If your working style doesn’t match your assistant’s style, or if you have over-estimated what she or he can do, you are set up for disappointment, and may possibly end up starting the whole process over again.
I remember consulting with a business owner who decided to hire her own assistant, and when she described everything she was looking for in that assistant, it was clear to me she was imagining hiring a
duplicate of her charismatic self, rather than someone who could take a back seat, take care of details, and revel in getting messy systems organized. Things did not go well in that hiring process.
Lastly, there is the problem of filling someone’s time. I see that story played out again and again – an executive hires an assistant full time (or even part time) and then tries desperately to fill that person’s 20 or 40 weekly hours. After the first couple weeks, the backlog of tasks gets taken care of, and then… the exec tries to invent work for the assistant, and then finally lets her go.
What’s the alternative? Glad you asked. Contracted administrative assistants. Just the sort of thing that Shared Hands can help with. You only buy what you need in a month, and can scale up or scale down, and you don’t have to worry about payroll or paperwork.
And here’s an even better idea: Why not have the best of both worlds?
Work with a contracted administrative assistant for a few month until you know you have found the perfect assistant; then take the option to hire.