Magazine article Supervisory Management

How to Ensure Your Secretary Will Stay

Magazine article Supervisory Management

How to Ensure Your Secretary Will Stay

Article excerpt

How to Ensure Your Secretary Will Stay

Ask five business executives what happens to their offices' productivity when they lose a secretary. They'll tell you how things get lost, previously screened phone calls get through, and office morale is upset. To many managers, nothing is more frustrating than having a good secretary quit on them.

It's unfortunate because in most instances the situation could have been prevented.

Hiring the right person

To begin with, when you are hiring a secretary, in your interviews, you should explore the candidates' long- and short-term aspirations. Find out if they prefer to be closely supervised or work more autonomously. Ask them and yourself, "Will this person be happy working with me?"

Establishing good communication between yourself and your secretary from the first day is the next step to avoiding premature turnover. Make sure your secretary understands what's expected of her (or him).

The following guidelines should also help you create a more effective and rewarding working relationship with your secretary:

1. Respect your secretary as an important part of the management support team. Sit down with her on the first day on the job and discuss how important her job can be to your office.

2. Encourage questions. Don't belittle your secretary for lack of knowledge. Spending a little extra time with your secretary when she first starts working for you will save you time in the future. Give her literature or background information to read so she can get a feel for the industry or department's business. Having a better understanding of the meaning of her work will help avoid mistakes as well as make her more quickly feel a part of the group.

3. Discuss room for improvement privately. Quietly discussing points of your secretary's work that need improvement is the best way to handle the situation.

4. Remember to compliment work well done. In other words, treat your secretary as you would want your boss to treat you. If you must criticize, explain how an unsatisfactory assignment should have been handled; next time, it will probably be done better. And compliments for a job well done will offer encouragement to your secretary and give a sense of progress that will improve her work on future assignments.

5. Structure secretarial jobs as a career path, from junior through executive levels. …

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