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Handling 5 Common
Administrative Staffing Challenges

Administrative staff are the lifeblood of an organisation. They often operate in the background, working seamlessly to ensure things get done on time and to the required standard. 

Their work is often unseen, and as a result, often goes unrecognised. Many employers don’t appreciate just how important their administrative staff are until something goes wrong and they are unable to fulfil their roles.

In this guide, we’re looking at some of the common challenges faced when your administrative team is compromised for whatever reason. These are five all too common challenges that you will likely face at some point – and how to overcome them.

Skill shortages

Administrative staff are widely skilled and bring a wealth of experience, but there may come a time when they come up against a task that they are not able to complete. A skills shortage within your organisation could occur if you aren’t actively listening to administrative staff and hearing their feedback. 

They will have their finger on the pulse of the industry and will know when there is a development on the horizon that will require additional training. Make time for regular feedback sessions with your administrative team and take their feedback on board.

Holidays and leave of absence

Everyone needs a break, and whether this is a planner or unexpected break, it can cause key processes to come grinding to a halt. It’s vital that someone else in the organisation knows how key processes are carried out. 

This can help to avoid the issues faced when a member of the administrative team goes on a planned holiday or needs to take an unexpected leave of absence. Better coordination between administrative staff and avoiding allowing these important team members to become too isolated in their roles will help everyone to cope when they need to take time off. 

Unexpected departures

If a member of the team leaves without warning, it can send a shockwave through an organisation. Everything will grind to a halt as someone steps in and slowly pieces together their role and gets to grips with their processes. You can avoid this by making documentation a key part of the role. 

Documentation helps with staff onboarding as well as coping when staff leave their roles unexpectedly. You could use tools like Loom to screen record key processes and keep an archive of helpful processes.

Insufficient handover

A departing administrative assistant might have appeared to be preparing a well-documented handover, but when you come to explore the documents you find it severely lacking. The best way to manage this and avoid it happening in the first place is to arrange an exit interview. 

This is a chance to gain feedback from the individual and ensure you fully understand why they are leaving. It’s also an ideal opportunity to learn more about their handover and make sure you have all of the information you need before they depart. It also helps to keep things on good terms, so you can still reach out for clarification.

Seasonal demand

If your business runs on a seasonal demand cycle, you might have increased demand for specific times of the year and then see slumps in demand the rest of the time. This presents an interesting challenge for administrative workers, as they will have very little to do during quiet times and too much to do during peak periods.

The best way to manage this is to remain prepared. Plan for the months ahead when you expect to be busy, ensuring that routine tasks are taken care of months in advance so your administrative team can focus on preparing for the busier periods. Consider hiring short-term support to help lighten the load during busier periods so that your administrative team doesn’t feel overworked.

Closing thoughts 

Failure to appreciate your administrative assistants can lead to issues when they leave or are unavailable. By taking their roles seriously and making the effort to understand what they do and how they do it, you can avoid disaster when they go on holiday, have to take a leave of absence or leave your company entirely. Documenting their role and key processes will also help with handover if you need to bring in workers to help meet seasonal demand.

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