If you are struggling to prove your value to leadership, performance metrics could be the answer, explains Shayanne Wright
As an administrative professional, you do so much to keep your executive, team, and company running. You are industrious and diligent behind the scenes. Because your company does not tie your labor directly to revenue or specific metrics, managers and team members may take your hard work for granted. Worse, leadership may view your role as simply an operational expense.
Another hurdle may be the new dynamics brought about by the shift to remote work. A recent study by Catalyst found that three in five female employees feel their chances for a promotion are worse because of the new remote work environment. Part of this may stem from the loss of visibility on day-to-day activities that existed when everyone worked in the office together.
If you find yourself struggling to prove your value to leadership, or your contributions are invisible because of remote work, presenting performance metrics could be the answer. With the right tools and mindset, you can leverage metrics for your role, demonstrate your value, and advance your career.
1. Set a Goal for Your Metrics
Before you get into how and what to track for your role, you need to set a goal. Answer the following questions:
- Why are you tracking metrics?
- Do you want a raise?
- Are you looking to move up or into a new department?
- Has your boss asked you to start reporting on your efforts?
- Are you feeling underappreciated and want to track all the long hours you’ve put in?
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you set your goal:
You want a raise
Take some time to research the market rate for your current role. Salary calculators like Glassdoor and Payscale are helpful. You can also get real-world data by asking peers in your industry. This will help you know how to value your contribution.
You want a promotion
Think about the skillsets you need to demonstrate or highlight job responsibilities you already do to qualify for your desired role. You can find a list of competencies by looking at job postings for similar positions. It might also be helpful to ask someone in that role more about what they do.
You must prepare for one-on-ones
One-on-ones with your boss can be a huge asset. They let you prove your value over time so that your boss sees the culmination of your daily actions. They also force you to implement tracking and reporting habits and tools so you’re not scrambling to remember what you did six months ago when it comes time for performance reviews.
You feel underappreciated
Just the act of putting things on paper can be cathartic. Go one step further and report your activities to your boss. Your initiative and confidence will demonstrate more clearly the value you bring. Regular reporting with a combination of completed tasks and visual quantitative graphs can paint a picture of all that you do in a new way and create a feedback loop with your executive.
Now that your objective is defined, let’s walk through how to document the ways you bring value.
2. Identify the Metrics You Want to Track
Your goal may inform what you want to track, especially if you need to demonstrate a skillset for promotion. Beyond that, consider the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that mean the most to your executive and company. Some options include:
- number of tasks completed,
- response times (e.g., time from task creation to completion),
- task types (e.g., booking travel, meetings, calls, preparing reports, etc.), or
- project progress (e.g., number of tasks completed or percent complete).
Track everything – at least to start. Set up a labeling or color-coding system. Color code your calendar by type of activity, and label tasks in your to-do list by project or type.
For example, if you want to show how pivotal your role is in meeting your executive’s numbers, track the time spent scheduling client calls, creating supporting sales documents, or coordinating travel for in-person client meetings. The gravity of that number may surprise even you.
If you need to show how much time you spend supporting various team members, code all tasks related to each team member with their specific color or label so you can easily tally them.
3. Create a Detailed List of What You Do
Yes, a detailed list. You’ll be astonished by its length. There is a good chance you will identify duties you perform that your executive is unaware you do.
Keeping a running list enables rapid prioritization when new tasks pile on and allows you to be proactive in reallocating resources before important items get missed. Most importantly, it creates visibility into just how valuable you are and how much you carry week to week.
4. Note What You Do Above and Beyond Your Job Description
Hopefully, your company gave you a formal job description when you started your position. If they did, examine the original role activities and see if anything has changed. Note the differences and leverage those when discussing your value to the company and your next raise. It’s common for administrative professionals to take on more responsibility, and doing so demonstrates your proactivity and eligibility for a raise or promotion.
A recent social media poll by online employment marketplace SEEK found that almost 9 in 10 people took on more responsibilities without a pay raise.
5. Show How Your Work Relates to the Goals of the Company
Think about the goals of your executive, division, and company. The more you can show how your work impacts these goals, the easier it will be to ask for a raise or promotion.
Say you work at a nonprofit assisting the major donor team. While you may not be on the frontlines fundraising, you handle emails, meetings, travel, and other tasks that directly impact your team’s interactions with donors. In this situation, you’d want to note when new relationships you’ve supported give financial gifts. Tally up the number of new donors and the amount given that you directly impacted.
6. Establish and Communicate Performance Summaries
Once you track performance, you’ll want to create a template for presenting your metrics to others. Whether you are measuring response times, number of tasks completed, or task type, the stats need to be straightforward to review at a glance.
With your template ready, set up a regular time to present your performance summary. Monthly is a nice cadence that gives you enough of a data sample. That will make it easier to show your growth over time when you have your six-month or annual review.
If you do weekly one-on-ones, focus on the more granular accomplishments. These check-ins are also the perfect time to implement the feedback loop, let your boss know your current workload, and get direction on priorities.
Many of us struggle with self-promotion, but your performance summaries are a great time to brag about your accomplishments. By keeping a running list and regularly generating summaries, you’re prepared to discuss your major accomplishments and professional strengths whenever the topic comes up.
7. Achieve Your Goal
If it’s been difficult thus far for you to advance in your career, you are not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, two-thirds of administrative professionals find it difficult to move up or into a new role. Arguably, this is driven by a lack of job performance metrics.
Whether you want career advancement through a raise or promotion, or simply want to feel more valued, you now see how metrics can help you achieve your goal. My goal is to see you equipped with the tools and mindset you need to count yourself among the one-third who break through in their careers.
Seeing administrative professionals like you succeed drove me to create the task management platform Office Otter. I wanted to create a platform that caters to administrative professionals and your unique workflow.
I invite you to sign up for a free trial of Office Otter and see if it can help you create better performance summaries. Whether or not you use Office Otter, I would love to hear how your performance tracking and reporting efforts are going! You can reach me via email or chat on our website: www.officeotter.com/executivesupport.