10 ways Executive Assistants add value to your business in 2023

The role of the PA and Executive Assistant continues to evolve to meet the demands of today’s executives and organisations, with effective assistants providing a wealth of skills that reach far beyond the traditional gatekeeper role.

The rise of a more tech savvy and self-sufficient generation of executives has compounded the changing focus for this critical role at the heart of the organisation.

Today’s assistants provide a blend of advice, analysis and technical expertise that enables the execs they work with to perform at their best. Working closely with senior executives means that PA’s and Executive Assistants need first class skills to perform their wide variety of roles effectively.

The skills that provide value

1. Impeccable Organisation

This goes beyond being personally organised. The best assistants manage the interface between people and projects, with the ability to shuffle arrangements so that everything is achieved without disruption. Skills such as project management, diary management and handling business travel, combine with communication and negotiation skills to keep everything together.

2. Ruthless prioritisation

Absolute focus on the most valuable and important tasks is a key part of the assistant role. Beyond gatekeeping, this is having a strong sense of the relative importance of competing demands on executives’ time and attention.

3. Keep calm and carry on

Difficult tasks, moving schedules and tight deadlines are everyday reality to every assistant. Having the skills and confidence to anticipate and adapt enables the best assistants to keep all activities on track.

4. Expert communicator

Whether it’s speaking on behalf of executives, or drafting the communications that bear their signatures, PA’s and Executive Assistants needs to have the crisp communication expected by customer and staff audiences alike.

5. Real tech prowess

Mastery of the variety of IT tools that propel productivity in their own working lives and that of their executives is an integral part of the assistant role. Assistants need to have full command of the power of the tools they work with to maximise efficiency and coordinate their workloads.

6. Emotional intelligence

As a representative for the organisations most senior executives, you’ll continually communicate with its most important stakeholders. Having the ability to seamlessly interact with a vast range of people and personalities, understand their drivers and motivations, and ensure these are responded to is an integral asset for the effective assistant.

7. Business awareness

PA’s and Executive Assistants often support people with business-wide roles, so an understanding of finance, law, economics, marketing, and HR, are all essential. Assistants need to be able to discern what’s important and be able to use data and insights to inform decision making, and to provide meaningful insights to their executives.

8. Discretion

Working at the heart of the business means access to a wide range of sensitive information. Complete discretion on the behalf of the organisation and individual executives is an absolute requirement that drives the trust required for assistant roles to support effectively.

9. Networking

Connections at every level are what help assistants achieve the seemingly impossible for their executives. Building the contacts and relationships to be able to get assistance when you need it is a key part of how PA’s make themselves invaluable to the team around them.

10. Speed and decisiveness

In today’s fast paced business environment decisions are made quickly and organisations need to be responsive to market and competitor activity. Effective assistants understand this and are primed to ensure rapid solutions can be deployed in pretty much any situation. The ability to do this comes from a strong grasp of the skills required to be successful and a strong relationship with those around them.

Business Benefit

The combination of skills deployed by PA's and Executive Assistants serves to enable executives and organisations to perform better - achieving more with fewer mistakes, in less time and with less stress.

Executive Assistants are seen by many organisations as a 'power role' that's integral to their overall success by closing the gaps between people and processes, taking care of business and ensuring projects run smoothly.

Making this work for you and your business

If you’re looking to break into a career as a Personal or Executive Assistant, you’ll need to demonstrate you’ve got the range of skills to fulfil the variety of expectations required. Intensive qualification programmes can help you get a head start by rapidly equipping you with the skillset to get hired.

Rapidly acquiring high quality skills provides a great springboard into this sought-after career path by acquiring practical skills to the high standard required by hiring organisations.

For candidates who are already at work, flexible learning from organisations such as Pitman Training can help you manage your continued professional development.

For organisations looking to hire these talented professionals, specialist recruiters such as Love & Tate, C&C Search and Oriel Partners will help you source and select the people who will provide the greatest leverage to your business.

If your organisation would benefit from additional perspective on how best to leverage your business support roles to support your business performance for the year ahead, please contact Chris Hodson or Zoe Niven for an exploratory conversation.