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Forget the Flowers: Give Valuable Training for Administrative Professionals Day

On April 25, leaders at businesses of all sizes will celebrate Administrative Professionals Day. The holiday honors the special individuals who work hard each day to make sure that offices are running efficiently, paperwork and files are organized, payroll is carefully handled, and that the professional equipment needs of other employees are met.

Some managers choose to buy flowers or take their administrative employees out to lunch. However, there is a better way for leaders to thank these integral employees: Give them training that they can use to learn and grow as professionals.
As a learning and development professional, encourage the leaders within your organization to give training as a gift of appreciation for everything the administrative professionals do each day. Training is a great way to show the administrative professionals in your organization that they are not only respected and appreciated members of the team, but that their contributions to—and professional future within—the organization matter.
Here are a few types of training that can benefit administrative professionals:

Help Employees Grow Their Interpersonal “Soft” Skills

Soft skills come naturally to some people and are a struggle for others. However, like any other skill, these abilities can be developed and improved upon with training and practice. These abilities can include learning how to:

  • Be proactive in communications with others;
  • Become a clear, concise communicator;
  • Ask effective questions;
  • Become an active listener; and
  • Continuously improve communication skills by learning from others.

Effective communication soft skills also are important for all employees regardless of their rank or position. Inefficient communicators can introduce errors, reduce productivity, and create interpersonal conflicts among employees. Organizations that have employees with poor communication skills can actually find themselves losing significant money.
In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management cites the following data about the cost of poor communication: “400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.”

Offer Them Management and/or Leadership Training

It doesn’t matter what role an employee holds within your organization, developing their leadership and management skills is an incredible way to discover hidden talents and, potentially, future leaders within your ranks. This can help you to potentially build your leadership pipeline by tapping into and developing your organization’s future leaders.
The roles and expectations of administrative professionals have been continuously evolving over the past few decades. Citing information from the American Society of Administrative Professionals, Duke University’s publication Duke Today shares that:

“The administrative professional job has evolved to require skillsets such as project management, front line tech support and financial skills. Also, instead of working with one manager, today’s administrative professional could work with an entire team of colleagues.”

Management skills for administrative professionals are important because it helps them to cultivate deeper capabilities for planning, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and coordination. They’ll also feel more comfortable and confident when taking on larger tasks and responsibilities.
By helping them create changes in their behaviors and how they approach situations, you’re helping them learn to change how they think of themselves as well.
In his article in The New York Times, David Brooks says, “changes in behavior create changes in mindset. If you act powerfully, you will begin to think powerfully.” When employees begin behaving in more assertive ways or learn to adopt more assertive poses, they can overcome their mental stigmas and magnify their advantages.

Encourage Employees to Grow Through Incremental Changes

Learning new skills or ways to approach situations can be daunting. For someone who has never had a leadership role or served in a managerial capacity, trying to learn best practices for these kinds of roles can feel overwhelming, intimidating, or even unattainable. This is because people tend to “bite off more than they can chew” when trying to learn about new topics or skills.
However, these self-inflicted concerns are unnecessary. People can learn to incorporate their newly learned communication, leadership, and management skills little by little. Much like people who make New Year’s resolutions and quit them within a few weeks, taking on too big of a task or challenge creates opportunities to fail. This can enable someone to feel unmotivated and, ultimately, fail at whatever task they are trying to accomplish.
According to Big Think expert and social psychologist Amy Cuddy, people perform better when they focus on incremental change. In a Big Think video on authentic learning, she says:

“We’re not focused on the outcome… You’re just focused on the process in this next moment that’s coming up. And that allows you to grow a little bit over time to not think of each of these steps as an opportunity to fail. And eventually, you know, in aggregate you get there.”

Engaging in continuous learning of hard and soft skills is beneficial for all employees and your organization as a whole. Training for administrative professionals doesn’t have to be limited to only skills relating to traditional administrative duties. Additional areas of learning for administrative professionals can include a broad range of topics and skill sets, such as:

  • Mindfulness in the workplace;
  • Increasing personal productivity;
  • Conflict resolution and negotiation skills; and
  • Learning how to successfully navigate change.

At Big Think+, we offer a wide assortment of video training programs that are available when your employees need them. To see how we can help your employees grow and serve as greater assets to your organization, request a demo today.

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