The Lessons We Learn. Professional Development- Admin Style

Good morning from lovely Montreal. 
I’ve been attending the 66th  IAAP Educational Forum and Annual Meeting in Montreal and I must say it’s been fascinating.

More than 1,000 administrative professionals taking time off from work to earn additional re-certification points, network and learn superbly relevant administrative skills.  Did you know that the majority of these professionals have to use their own vacation time and money to attend this conference?  Most of them know it is a key component to remaining a viable full-time employee.. so they pay their own way.  Companies generally do not invest professional development dollars in their administrative staff — for a variety of reasons. 

Our career field covers such a wide swath of responsibilities that our certification exam is a full day exam.  We range from receptionist to executive assistants to director of administration.  The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics has Standard Occupational Category for admins as Office and Administrative Support Occupations.  There are 55 job title categories or suboccupational listings!  55.  Read that one more time.. 55.  That gives you an idea of just how much stuff we cover.

At this conference, I took courses in PowerPoint 2010, mobile device applications pros/cons, participated as  delegate to address our association governance and also took the opportunity to speak in front of my peers.

Admins can be the key to your company’s level of efficiency.  Competent, dedicated administrative professionals may be able to see cost savings from a big picture point of view that the number crunchers may not see.  They may have access to a network of resources through their professional connections that can potentially bring new business to your company.  They are generally the first adopters of new software and could double as instructors for helping your staff acclimate to the new versions.. saving your staff some of their precious time.  

Perhaps the lesson is to not cut administrative staff when you are reviewing FTEs.  Perhaps the lesson is to invest in those admins that want to learn more, try more, take on more new stuff.  Utilize their skills.  Allow them to address their potential to contribute to the success of your firm.   It just might be the least expensive lesson taken.

Author: KMK Foley

Storyteller. Wicked sense of humor. Tenacious learner, Coffee Lover, especially Dunkin' Donuts.