Recently, Paul Petrone wrote an article about Chipotle’s hiring practices and what they seek in new hires. In researching the 13 characteristics the franchise’s hiring managers seek in new employees, we found that corporate hiring managers could take a tip or two from the list, and administrative assistants should strive to express each of the characteristics in their own professional lives.
Here is Part 2 of Characteristics Assistants and Chipotle Employees Have in Common
Honesty is the best policy. It always has been, and always will be. Honesty is not just about taking responsibility for your actions or ‘fessing up to a mistake. Honesty is about being able to say, “this is a good/bad idea” because you are invested in the success of the company, and not just doing something for the sake of getting it done. Administrative professionals are often called upon to be sounding boards for presentations, speeches, event ideas, etc., so it is important that an honest opinion is given when called upon, otherwise branding, reputations, or financials could be at risk. Just be sure to do it in the right way.
Administrative assistants’ work is often meticulous, detail oriented, fast paced, and highly involved, therefore a conscientious administrative professional—again, from receptionist to executive assistant—is one that is valued. Being conscientious means always wanting to see your work through from inception to completion and never being satisfied until the work is of high quality and exceeds your standards. Conscientious administrative professionals will review their work several times over to make sure they didn’t leave anything out or put too much in. They strive for perfection, and with a conscientious admin, that’s what you’ll get. Of course, we are all human, and perfection isn’t always attainable; a good admin understands what can be perfected, and what can be plainly executed.
While the dress code for each company may vary, there are certain inalienable standards administrative professionals in any setting should adhere to. Personal hygiene is of utmost importance, since administrators are ultimately interacting with others throughout the day. A generally polished, well-kept appearance is also critical since administrators are representative of the organization by the nature of their role. It is sometimes unfortunate, but we are judged by our appearance, and while the standards of dress may vary (very casual in technology, very buttoned-up in finance), it is important to look polished and presentable according to the standards of the company you work for.
Curiosity is what inspires change, improves procedures, and produces innovation. Curious administrators will challenge the processes in place and strive to create more efficient methodologies, improve systems, and train others to be self-sufficient, all for the better. Curious employees will also strive to learn more about the organization, its goals, mission, and values, in order to better adapt themselves to their work environment, in addition to learning new software and skills.
Employee motivation is the intrinsic desire, drive and enthusiasm an individual possesses to accomplish activities related to his/her job. Motivated employees are better for a business’s bottom line, it’s that simple. They will produce more, innovate more often, and collaborate more efficiently with their team. A motivated administrative assistant will execute (well) on tasks time and time again, and work to maintain a level of productivity that surpasses expectations. The employer, however, is responsible for helping an employee remain motivated, and does so by providing benefits, incentives, coaching, and respect to that employee in their various forms. For administrative assistants, it could mean tagging along on a business trip abroad, extra paid time off, or tickets to an exclusive event. (I was once given 4th row tickets to watch the BNP Paribas Tennis Showdown at Madison Square Gardens and also the opportunity to attend conferences abroad).
The very foundation of a support role such as an administrative assistant, receptionist, or office manager, is one that is deeply rooted in customer service. Individuals in administrative positions’ primary purpose is to enable others to do their jobs smoothly and effectively. Hospitable administrators welcome the opportunity to assist others in whatever they may need, from faxing and filing, to presentation conception and creation, to coordination of travel and reimbursements of expenses among many, many other things. Hospitable employees greet challenges and requests with a friendly demeanor and a can-do attitude.
In any office, the energy level is bound to ebb and flow. There will be times of extreme chaos, and there will be times of slowness and boredom. It is the natural order of any office setting. Administrative assistants who are high energy are great for either of these circumstances; they will keep up with the fast-paced environment of a demanding office and a busy schedule, and they help to eliminate any lulls in productivity because they will constantly be on the hunt for new things to do. High energy individuals also motivate those around them to add a little pep in their step. It’s contagious, like a yawn, but in reverse!
Imagine walking into work each day and being completely reenergized by your peers. That mentality, the desire to want to re-motivate their supervisors or teams day in and day out, that’s what differentiates a great administrative assistant from an ordinary one. Administrative assistant duties all involve making others’ lives easier so they can stay focused on the big picture, execute on tasks that produce results, and don’t drown in their mundane responsibilities.
These characteristics of highly-hirable individuals under Chipotle’s model do not encompass all of the skills that an administrator should possess, but they are a great place to start when evaluating your own skills or looking to hire an assistant. Perhaps Chipotle has it backwards: maybe they should become a recruiting company… just kidding. But in all seriousness, if a career in administration doesn’t work out for you, don’t forget, your skills are transferrable to the franchise.
Image By Angie Garrett (Flickr: A Breather) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons