I hosted a webinar with three mental health specialists – Jo Yarker from Affinity Health at Work, Business Psychologist Julie Osborn and Ruth Cooper-Dickson from Champs Consulting – who offered their tips for employers managing employees’ mental health during the pandemic. They cover: Tips for managers in looking after their own mental health The importance
You have probably had a few PAs support you over the years. Some have been great, others perhaps not quite such a good fit. It has taken a while to get there, but you have finally found… The One.
They know your every move, can anticipate complications before they’ve a chance to eventuate, and manage your time so well you can’t remember a time you’ve ever been more effective or productive. Things have never run so smoothly for you, and it’s been a journey to get to this point. So what now?
Now you have to hold on to them! And if you think incremental pay rises are going to cut it, think again.
A recent employee engagement survey found 80% of employees dissatisfied with their direct manager are disengaged (1). That means you have the power and control over your fantastic PA’s engagement. And what makes them dissatisfied? This will obviously vary from one to the next, but to our mind at least, the common solution is open communication. Precious your time may be, but try reserving a half hour slot every fortnight to talk to your PA and get some feedback on how things are going. If they’re as good as you think they are, they deserve your time and attention.
2. Show you value them
Like any relationship, to feel valued is to feel good. Let them know the areas where they are excelling and ask where they feel their challenges lie. Are they concerned about a particular skillset? Offer some training. Can they suggest a more effective way to manage your diary? Commit to trialling it for a week. Employees who report feeling valued by their employer are 60% more likely to report they are motivated to do their very best for their employer (2).
3. Demonstrate flexibility
We understand this is a tricky one and may not always be possible, particularly if it’s a critically busy role. But if it is possible, offer flexibility. If you’re travelling overseas for a period for example, ask if they would value working from home a few days a week. Chances are the answer is yes. If they’re working late with you to meet a deadline, ask them to come in late the next day. By showing you care about their work life balance, your PA will be infinitely more motivated to go the extra mile for you when it matters.
4. Career advancement
“What?!” we hear you cry. “But I don’t want them to leave!” We’re not proposing they do. What we are suggesting, however, is that you offer opportunities for your PA to stay stimulated and challenged in their work. 72% of Millennials feel that their current organisations don’t make “full use” of the skills they currently have to offer (3). So ask them in which areas they would like to expand their skillset if any. It might be taking on new projects and learning about a different area of the business. It could be that they want to start a social committee. If they feel they can do these things, still manage their workload, and contribute positively to the business, by all means let them do it.
While we realise the above points are not necessarily going to be universally feasible, we do hope you’re able to take on board a few of these tips and that they prove fruitful for you. We’re convinced you’ll notice a happier and more motivated PA in no time!
Want some more advice? Get in touch today.
1. Dale Carnegie
2. Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program