What can PAs do to make sure they are getting the recognition at work that they deserve? How can Assistants achieve greater recognition at work?

Recently, the OpenMeet team had the pleasure of participating in the annual Practically Perfect PA Assist Conference 2017, where we ran a few workshops. This is the last of our three blogs based on the fantastic discussions we had and the feedback we received from our workshop participants. If you haven’t already, read our first blog on what to look for in an event supplier, and our second, on common issues PAs face with career development.

How can Assistants achieve greater recognition at work?

In our third and final discussion, we asked our attendees what they struggled with the most in terms of achieving recognition at work. They said:

There is a huge range and variety in the work done by PAs, even within the same organisation

Actions PAs should take:

  • Communicate with managers and HR about what the job involves
  • Encourage a better organisational structure with planned progression
  • Give regular feedback to managers, making assessments a two-way system
  • Share knowledge with other PAs through internal and external networks

Actions the industry should take:

  • Educate recruiters about PA titles
  • Awareness training for managers
  • Greater training for PAs
  • Establish a formally accredited qualification for PAs
  • Establish a hierarchy of job titles, e.g. Junior PA, Senior PA

There is a general lack of understanding of the PA role

Actions PAs should take:

  • Have full, frank, regular discussions with management about their workload
  • Seek out further training opportunities
  • Refresh job description/LinkedIn profile frequently to reflect skills and experience
  • Say no sometimes – not everything falls under the PA job description (or say yes, but ensure that you are recognised for this work!)

Actions the industry should take:

  • Increased networking and communication; growth of PA networks
  • Establish industry-wide career development goals
  • Establish PA awards and other forms of recognition for achievement/excellence
  • Encourage membership of professional bodies and organisations

PAs should take more initiative and be more proactive in developing and showing off their skills

Actions PAs should take:

  • It sounds simple, and it is – show interest! Ask where else you can get involved and gain more experience. Follow up on offers of help
  • Some employers may be more willing than others to share knowledge and information. Try to convey to them that a more knowledgeable PA is a more effective PA
  • Understand exactly what the company’s business goals are, and how the company makes money – that way you will be more likely to recognise opportunities and raise them

Actions the industry should take:

  • An industry-wide requirement of training for the PA role could be incredibly useful for things you may not easily learn through experience. E.g. Some Business Studies courses

The PA role is often incredibly demanding, but also incredibly varied. PAs can bridge the gap between the amount of recognition at work that they achieve, and the amount that they want to achieve in several ways: by ensuring that their employers fully understand and appreciate their role; by making full use of internal and external networks; and by showing initiative and self-promotion wherever possible.

For more information on OpenMeet technology, please contact us here, or visit our blog to read more tips and advice about how to improve audience engagement at your meetings and events.