Think about what you deliver rather than what you do, explains Richard Arnott
With COVID all but over, many organisations are realising the benefits of not only home working but also hybrid working. For some, the benefits of not having staff commute and not having to provide office space in sometimes very expensive cities are immeasurable.
Progressive organisations have embraced the changes that COVID-19 forced on most of us – changes that they probably would never have thought of doing pre-COVID because they were stuck in their ways and followed the “why change it if it is not broken” mantra.
Maintaining the Status Quo
There are, however, sadly, those organisations which simply cannot change and want to return to the old ways of working as quickly as possible, not because it is better, not because it is more productive, but because they simply cannot get their heads around the fact that people can perform when not being supervised 24/7.
In the United Kingdom, our government is one of them. Many government offices are right in the centre of London, in prime real estate. Since COVID, these have been basically empty; although they were starting to be used again as people started hybrid working or, if required, full commuting again, there were many empty desks as people continued to work from home. When one senior government minister, Jacob Rees Mogg, started leaving snide memos on empty desks about how he “looks forward to seeing everyone at their desks very soon”, I remembered something I was taught by one of my very early mentors when I first entered the world of business.
I started my career first as a graduate trainee, but my first real role was in a department called Organisation and Methods, which today would probably be called Business Transformation or some similar title. Our remit was to drive productivity improvement throughout the organisation that I worked for. One of my first projects was to establish a new way to measure productivity. Till then, most of what we did was to measure the work coming into the organisation, which enabled us to establish the optimum number of staff that were needed at any one time but did not tell us the correct number of staff we should require, as it did not really measure true productivity.
A few weeks into the project, I was struggling to come up with anything radical. I sat down with my boss and explained what I had found, how I thought that the existing measurement system was adequate and how I could not see any different way to measure what was coming in. It was then that he said these words that I have never forgotten throughout my whole career…
Measure People’s Output, Not Their Input
Measuring output rather than input focuses on assessing the tangible results and impact of an individual’s work rather than just counting the amount of time or effort they put into their tasks. For an Executive Assistant, this approach provides a more meaningful evaluation of their effectiveness and contribution.
Ask your executive to consider measuring you based on the benefit that you bring to the organisation. Provide some examples; once you start the process, I am sure that your executive will come up with more. A couple of suggestions might include…
Percentage of meetings started on time and concluded within the scheduled duration.
This metric assesses the Executive Assistant’s ability to manage the logistics of meetings, ensuring that they start promptly and stay within the allocated time frame. It reflects their organisational skills and attention to detail in coordinating schedules and preparing participants.
Task Completion Rate
Percentage of assigned tasks and projects completed by the specified deadline.
Instead of merely tracking the number of tasks assigned to the Executive Assistant, this metric focuses on how effectively they manage their workload and deliver results within the expected time frame. It highlights their time management skills and commitment to meeting deadlines.
Problem Resolution Success
The number of critical issues resolved without escalation.
This metric quantifies the Executive Assistant’s ability to handle challenges and resolve problems independently. It showcases their decision-making skills and capability to navigate complex situations, minimizing the need for involvement from higher management.
Feedback scores from internal and external stakeholders regarding communication, responsiveness, and assistance provided by the Executive Assistant.
Rather than measuring the amount of communication or interactions initiated by the Executive Assistant, this approach evaluates the quality of those interactions and their impact on stakeholder satisfaction. High satisfaction scores indicate effective communication and support.
Process Improvement Implementation
The number of process improvements or efficiency suggestions implemented based on the Executive Assistant’s recommendations.
This metric demonstrates the Executive Assistant’s proactive approach and their ability to identify opportunities for enhancing workflows and operational efficiency. It showcases their analytical thinking and contribution to the organisation’s continuous improvement efforts.
Evaluation of key performance metrics for events or conferences organised by the Executive Assistant (e.g., attendance, participant feedback, goals achieved).
For Executive Assistants involved in event planning, measuring the success of events they coordinate goes beyond tracking the hours spent on planning. It gauges their event management skills and the positive outcomes generated from their efforts.
Time and Resource Savings
Calculated time or cost savings resulting from the Executive Assistant’s initiatives or optimizations (e.g., streamlined processes, cost-effective solutions).
This metric quantifies the direct impact of the Executive Assistant’s contributions in terms of efficiency gains or resource savings. It emphasizes their ability to make strategic decisions that positively influence the organisation’s bottom line.
By focusing on output measurement, organisations can gain a more accurate understanding of an Executive Assistant’s effectiveness and the value they bring to the organisation. These metrics reflect the impact of their work on operational excellence, stakeholder satisfaction, and overall business success.