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Monthly meeting of admins a good idea?

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Question: I wish to start a monthly meeting to include as many of the Administrative Assistants throughout the organization as possible. Does anyone have any hints on if monthly meetings are a good idea, if one hour is enough time, etc.?

I envision these meetings not only building relationships among all the assistants, but also giving all assistants an idea of what each area is currently working on and, if they're working on similar projects, allowing them to share feedback. Also, they can update one another on any major process changes in their departments. (We have a problem with one unit deciding to disband some information that is needed for reports, not aware that other departments are counting on it all being located in one place.)  -- Wisconsin


Comments

Monthly meetings with staff are great ideas. A lot of internal information can be exchanged so that the company has uniformity. As well as passing on changes, ideas evolve, and problems solved. Be aware sommetimes it has become a gripe session and counter productive to your intentions. Make an agenda and have everyone send you prior to the meeting any agenda requests, this keeps unnecessary gossips off the table.

I believe monthly meetings are a great idea. The firm I work for holds them monthly and it is a great avenue for sharing information. The philosophy here is that we are all a team, working hard to ensure the success of the company. So there are no secrets. We talk about our schedules, issues that have come up recently, along with getting input on ways to standardize our documents. We have established great relationships and a growing trust in one another. I certainly recommend it.

We have monthly meetings with the CFO on the 3rd Wed of every month. Sometimes they are only 5-10 minutes long and sometimes over 30min - hour. It is great getting all departments together just to see what is going on and meet as a group.
Texas

We have an administrative support council that meets once every quarter for about an hour and a half and that seems to be enough for us.

We usually discuss correspondence and and scheduling problems and what we can do to fix them. It's nice to be able to cross talk and work problems out among others that may have a solution. We also take advantage of the time to do some type of training or learning experience. We have brought in department heads from around our region to talk about what their office does for the region. We have had a motivational speaker come in to pump us up. We have also brought in a security expert to talk about personal safety items. Good luck.

I recently left Hewlett-Packard after 20 years, mostly in administrative professional positions. The most recent group was in Vancouver, WA, where we had a network of assistants with subteams based on interest. Meeting monthly, especially for the interest subteams, was a great idea, and we were able to accomplish great things. The larger network (100+ people) was never able to meet all together, as there were varying degrees of interest and bandwidth. Depending on your company's culture, the number of people involved, and individual interest in meeting, you may have the same situations. Still, it's worth it to develop a network so that not everyone needs to know everything, and you can use the collective "smarts" of the whole.

The assistants in my current company don't meet, though I have a few smart friends that I call when I need information or coaching...

Good luck!

We have staff meetings once a month with all of the admins at our company. We have them for 1 hour, and that seems to be enough time to get all topics covered without going off track. Everyone is then aware and up to date on projects, etc. It really works out quite well!

When I was an Executive Assistant for a large local government, we had an Executive Assistant Network. All of the director's assistants would get together once a month for lunch and discuss current issues and network. This was a great working tool. You could actually put a name with a face and made it much easier to schedule meetings, and/or have a point of contact to resolve issues. It also added value to our positions as we could be counted on to get issues resolved with minimum effort.

Our company did this for a number of years, and it was very helpful. It resulted in the admins from one of our business groups actually working together to construct a manual of general administrative practices for our corporation, complete with forms, contact info., etc. That way, any admin can sit in for another and know basically how to process paperwork and duties germane to that desk. It is working extremely well in shortening the learning curve when stand-ins are required and can't be cross-trained for any length of time before taking over the duties on the new desk.

In the case of the department considering eliminating the central location of reports, the best way to approach this is to send an e-mail to every department head whose area may use the reports, oran "All Employee" message to the entire company if you can't determine which workgroups use them. This will give notification of your plans and provides an opportunity to respond regarding their particular needs in relation to the reports. This avenue may be more advantageous than waiting for an admin meeting to discuss the process change, as it could even be missed as an agenda item at that time.

Wish you the best!

I wish my company would do something like that. We have many admins who never or rarely see or talk to each other. I think it would be extremely beneficial to see each other monthly or even quarterly to review what we are doing, meet each other, etc.

I have found meetings such as this are extremely helpful. Not only do they keep everyone on the same page, it conveys the message that they are a team, and can provide and receive vital information. Strongly recommend you use the time efficiently - start on time (even if there are tardy employees); have an agenda to help keep on track; control the meeting - if you don't there will be a long of time spent on wild goose chases, or trying to keep the informal leader(s) in line; end on time.

If it were only possible to keep up on the monthly meetings!!! They always seem to get shoved to the back burner, but they are so benefitial!

I think that there first few meeting might run a tad over an hour and then if you keep up on them they will run shorter depending on how many attending. We try to stick to one employee per department and then people within that department give that attending employee topics to bring up.

When we have our meetings we usually take turns going through our high priority topics and if time hasn't run out then we go back and cover more.

They are a great way to keep everyone working together and doing/saying the same thing instead of each department having their own version of a policy/procedure.

Yes, I definately think that monthly meets are vital. Our office has weekly meetings and keep us informed and help build office moral. Communication is always the #1 problem in organizations and these meetings may help with any communication problems you are having. In order for them to be successful, you should have an agenda already put together and possibly passed out in advance. Designate a time and stick to it. Do not change it a lot. Do not cancel you meetings a lot, otherwise they will loose their importance, and if they are an hour keep them at an hour. You'll be successful!

We started a secretary's team a few years ago (now called Admin Team) where I prepare the Agenda and we meet at a restaurant of our choice (lunch on the company) the second Tuesday every other month - there are only 5 of us. We are split in different locations so it is gives us an opportunity to discuss problems, achievements, etc at these lunch meetings. Suggest it to your boss - he should love your initiative and the gals will like it too.

In response to problem #1: At the company I work for, we hold monthly Administrative Assistant meetings for one hour. We give department updates such as major projects, new/leaving staff, dates staff will be out of the office, etc. We also have subscribed to the Admin Pro which we copy and distribute to all assistants. We also have brainstorming sessions to improve efficiencies in areas that are lacking and tackle tough issues in the workplace. It is great that we meet and effectively communicate, it helps keep each dept informed about issues that may affect more that just their department. Each Admin Asst is expected to attend at least one continuing education course annually, relevant to our job. Fortunately, our company pays for those courses. Hope this helps.

Wisconsin:
You are on the right track! It is very important that your Admin Assistants stay abreast of current situations, issues, and goals. Give this a try: Prepare an Agenda with the following:
1. Title it "Monthly Admin Asst Meeting"
2. Notate the Date, Time, and preferably a confernce call with number to call,for those in diffrent cities, locations, if applicable.
3. Next, a list of admin/department who you wish to participate (via email w/agenda would be suffice)
4. A list of attendees preferably Senior Exec Asst/Admin Asst(s)
5. Agenda Topics: which include as an Example
I.) Auto Loan Campaign Results Presented by Suzie Sue and notate time allowed for presentation, in this case if the meeting starts at 9:00am, Her presentation should be from 9:10am - 9:45am. So on and so forth.
6. It would be beneficial to tackle the most important items first, you may want to also include a section for Miscellaneous with an alloted time as well.
You want to include a motivational phrase to your agenda: Example: "A shared purpose combined with a positive mental attitude constitues an unstoppable force."
*Meetings should be early in the morning and keep the date consistent per month. Even if some do not participate that particular month, they become accustom to the Admin Monthly Meeting on the 5th of every month, respectively.

This works for the 365 admins thorough out the state I work with on a monthly basis.
Best of Luck.
Senior Executive Assistant
San Antonio, Texas

I have a few templates that I could send you to get started.



Senior Secretary Group/Pilot Professional Development Program

Purpose:
Teaching one another
Learning from one another
Generating Ideas
Promoting the Culture of Excellence
Creating energy
Display edge (be prepared for what happens)

Some Topics of Discussion:
Working w/ staff and our bosses
Managing the Manager (the partnership)
Developing and increasing teamwork
Working efficiently
Personal development
Handling difficult situations
Managing Conflict
Stress Management
Organization/time management
Project Management

Topics Covered
Different types of personalities in workplace
How to deal with difficult people
Conflict management
Performance Evaluations/Personal Assessments
Teamwork
Constructive Criticism and Feedback
Attitude
Leadership and the manager's role

Face it your looking for a way to get out of work for an hour. Get back to work before you dont have a place to work.

Amanda,
I had to laugh out loud when I read your comment. Your boss and managers network, don't they? They have regular staff meetings, don't they? There's a reason for that. It's because these meetings work (if they are run correctly) and there's beneficial information that is shared in those meetings. If your bosses and managers didn't communicate as a team, only then would there be no place for you to work.

I started monthly Administrative Assistant's meetings with the large group of clericals I work with. These meetings worked out very good. We are able to see what the needs of each unit are and as the Director's assistant I can convey them to the Director for follow up. Often times clerical needs get ignored or clericals are to intimidated to bring them up and they get lost in the mist of whatever their bosses needs are but we are all working together and need operations to run smoothly. We are the glue that holds them together. Also a lot of the girls didn't know each other and now we all have a great working relationship. We all know what each other does and work to help each other.

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