Secretary’s Day – No Laughing Matter

How Employee Satisfaction affects Customer Service

Secretary's Day

What are you doing to increase employee satisfaction?

Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day! We’ve come a long way since the 1970’s, when the Carol Burnett show squeezed a woman labeled “Secretary” into a pencil-tight skirt and painfully high stilettos. For almost a decade, television audiences giggled as Mrs. Ah-Huh-Wiggins displayed all the worst an employee could offer. She smacked her gum into clients’ ears on the telephone, filed her nails at her desk and smudged important papers with her ever-wet nail polish, could not figure out which button to push on the intercom system, and drove her boss to distraction. Americans laughed themselves silly.

But in reality, a wacked-out secretary or administrative assistant is no laughing matter. And the truth is, not all of the blame lies with Mrs. Wiggins. Her boss, Mr. Tudball, was no prize himself. Actor Tim Conway hurled insults at his employee in a sing-songy Swedish accent, mispronounced her name, rolled his eyes and raised his voice and threatened to replace her when she went on vacation. If an unprofessional receptionist is bad for business, so is an ineffective, frustrating relationship between “boss” and “secretary.”

Today, we have a clearer understanding of how the two must work together in partnership to create positive, productive work places which maximize the potential of a business. Good inter-office relationships and overall employee satisfaction affect how we all do our jobs — and make us better able to greet and care for our customers.

Many of us will celebrate Secretary’s Day by taking our Administrative Assistants — and perhaps the entire office staff — to lunch. That’s something Mr. Tudball never did. But we should also watch the lunch patterns of our support personnel every day, not just on April 24. If I see my executive assistant regularly eating lunch at his or her desk or looking particularly stressed, I figure I’ve probably done something wrong — notably, not given adequate time or resources or training or technology or additional personnel to get the job done. If I truly value my employee, I’ll say thank you with protected lunch hours and breaks, updated technology, innovative services, advanced training and continuing education. And so in addition to lunch, I’m looking around this year for the piece of the puzzle which will enable our staff to be less frustrated, and therefore, more effective, on the job..

Challenge: What changes do I need to make to help my administrative staff be happier and more effective in their jobs and to ensure I’m no Mr. Tudball? Let’s hear your suggestions in the comments below.

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