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In ‘jobless recovery’… do you still have an ‘official’ admin team?

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Question:  “In this ‘jobless economic recovery’ many cut jobs were not replaced, including those of both managers and admins. My question:  Does your company have an ‘official’ admin team?  If so, what is the scope of the team? Do managers pitch in with admin tasks and vice versa? Which ones? Are there tasks you have dropped? Thanks for sharing.”  – Carolyn

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Melodie Turk January 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Admin roles are definitely changing. I support a vice president at a large health care organization. I do still schedule all his meetings and travel, but I also handle the daily operations for his department and make sure he has time to do his work and also be a manager to his people. I also serve on several committees, manage small projects, and lead a cross-functional administrative group of 130+. We don’t have an “admin team”, but this admin group works on training each other on tools and resources (that are already available within the company), standardizing work (where we can), and sharing other best practices and lessons learned. I believe the “admin team” is changing as much as the traditional “admin role”.00

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Anonymous January 20, 2012 at 10:15 am

I am an administrative professional and work for a large healthcare orgainzation in the accounting department and support 48 associate leaders and managers. Technology is taking over most of my tasks and everything is being automated and my work load has decreased. However, I am being trained on more challenging work and not sure if my pay will remain the same. I am willing to do and learn more as long as I get to keep my job.

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Pam Gould January 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I work for an investment firm. I am the executive assistant to the President. We have three admins, since our company is rather small in number, but it is large in what we produce. I work for a wonderful man, and we are quite compatible in the workplace. I know his habits, so I know when to be close by and when to stay out of his hair. We have just opened a second “satellite” office, where the third (university student) admin works part time. Our workload is almost a feast or famine situation. We find a lot of time for downsizing files and doing mundane work, since the tech world has taken over, but my boss would rather have us around when he needs us, rather than downsize to one in the office. When we are busy, we are really busy and need two people. Not too much admin work is done by the managers, as they know we are available to do it and they don’t care to. I love my job, and I hope I never have to leave until I can’t do it any longer.

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DeeCee January 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm

We have the same number of admins that we had before the economy dipped, although there are times we could use more help.
I have actually had a partner assist in an admin’s duty (if we are tight on time and they really need something to be done, they may help, depending on which partner it is).

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Anonymous January 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

We don’t have one cohesive admin TEAM across the company, but the admins in my building serve as somewhat of a support network for each other.

We actually are underultilized, utilized improperly, underappreciated, and our access to any resources in HR have been cut off. They don’t send our performance reviews to HR any more, and we don’t have anyone to go to as a mentor or to go to if there is a problem that we can’t solve ourselves.

Admins at my company are treated terribly, and the work that we should be doing is given to research assistants instead.

It’s awful. I’m looking for my way out.

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Diana January 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

In my last job we had an Admin team and the concept worked VERY poorly. Even though work was supposed to be spread out evenly amongst team members, that never happened due to Admins protecting thier former “territory” and favorite assignments. It was constant cattiness, conflict and chaos! It was a tremendous relief to me when the team was eventually abolished and we went back to a traditional structure.

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Deb January 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

Our company over the years eliminated the majority of the administrtive support roles, moving the work over to the remaining support staff or doing away with it. Currently I support 50 workteam leaders and managers -there used to be two of us doing this, the work load didn’t decrease, just got combined.

Tthe work that administrive people do is considered “non value added” so they rarely replace the eliminated jobs. Instead they hire managers at twice what they pay the remaiing administrative staff to do a job that includes…60-70% adminstrative work. How value added is it to pay a manager 50K+ to spend hours each week setting up meetings, etc?

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Gloria January 13, 2012 at 10:43 am

My firm never had an Official Admin Team; but, this is something a group of us (EAs) have been working on for the past year. We’re working with HR on Training and Development; creating an Official AP group within the firm where Asssitants can go to for info, networking and other training & development resources; among many other goals.

Managers never pitch in for the admin tasks. If anything, more work is given to the Assistants to pick up on other roles falling outside of the EA role. As a high level EA, we already are involved in managerial tasks.

The remedial administrative tasks fall to the wayside. You have to make room for the more important tasks, delegate what you can, and drop what is not important. It’s a constantly evolving position. There aren’t too many assistants who do the typical administrative tasks anymore.

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Patty January 13, 2012 at 9:20 am

My position as executive assistant has been abolished and I have returned to the union ranks. I think the problem today is that everything is electronic, so the services of the admin are not as necessary as before. The tasks that we should be doing are all being done personally by our bosses. Email has taken over the art of letter-writing, BlackBerries, I-phones, voice mail, etc. have all taken the place of taking telephone messages. The Internet is used for booking travel and accommodations, negating the requirement for an admin to do that. We once had about 10 admins (secretaries) and now the company is down to four. I’m not being negative about this either; it’s just the way are today. So I will be the best “administrative professional” clerk that I can be.

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BC January 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm

@Victoria, I like this: “On the other hand, it does present opportunities to step up and take the initiative. I will say this, I am learning a lot.”

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Victoria January 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Every cloud DOES have a silver lining. Make yourself indispensable, learn all that you can and just hang in there.

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Victoria January 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm

My office is significantly smaller than it used to be. We have only a couple of Admin left. In the past we had Admin team meetings, which were attended by the admin from various departments. Unfortunately that is a thing of the past. I am puzzled by this, because communication is even more important the less people you have available to hold down the fort. We have less people to notice a ball is being dropped, less people to fill in the gaps. Yet roles and duties are more undefined and vague than they have ever been before, and it makes accountability non-existent. Those that aren’t so keen on being held to their word or a deadline seem to purposefully keep the water muddy as to who is responsible for something. Most of the people here (including Management) have no idea what tasks were on who’s plate before, let alone what all was involved in each task. And those that had those responsibilities are gone. Plus, new procedures and requirements are continually added that make things even more labor intensive from an administrative stand point. It’s getting more complicated as we become shorter staffed. If ever there were a time where efficiency should be a priority, this is it!
It is a challenging situation, because a lot of things come down to who blinks first, in spite of the fact that what we really need is a willing to pitch in attitude. On the other hand, it does present opportunities to step up and take the initiative. I will say this, I am learning a lot.

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