Sometimes it can feel like there simply aren’t enough minutes in the day. Which is probably one of the reasons why you employ an estate manager or personal assistant. With a never-ending list of urgent matters to attend to and a jam-packed schedule, it might be tempting to take a hands-off approach to managing the person who manages your home. But, carving out as little as 20 minutes a week to touch base with your assistant can dramatically improve your working relationship, avoid errors and misunderstandings, elevate employee performance, and – most importantly – increase retention.
While it may seem counter-intuitive, setting aside at least 20 minutes each week for a face-to-face meeting (whether in person or via video chat) with your estate manager or personal assistant will not only save you time (and money!), but it’ll make your life easier. Here’s how.
1. Improve Your Working Relationship
Lasting, healthy relationships aren’t built over text messages or notes left on the refrigerator. They require face-to-face interaction. Prioritizing a brief, weekly meeting to discuss your agenda for the coming week will help to establish open lines of communication between you and your estate manager or personal assistant. It’ll also allow each of you to better understand each other’s work and communication style.
Bottom line, when you take the time to get to know your employee (and allow her to get to know you), she’ll feel more comfortable coming to you with questions and concerns. She’ll also be more likely to go the extra mile to meet (and exceed) your expectations and motivate the entire team to do the same.
2. Decrease Errors and Misunderstandings
Scheduling time to speak with your Assistant gives her an opportunity to ask you questions or clarify your instructions so she can lead all the staff in a productive manner. This helps to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings – the more information your staff has about any given project the better!
Think about it this way: if you send your personal assistant a text asking him to organize your filing cabinet, he’s probably going to have some follow-up questions. Should he shred paperwork that is more than five years old? Would you like your files organized alphabetically or chronologically? And are you referring to the filing cabinet in your office or in the study? These are simple questions that can easily be addressed during a quick face-to-face chat. Imagine if your poor PA was left to guess his way through this project only to learn that you wanted it done another way. Clarifying on the first go will save both of you time and stress.
3. Elevate Employee Performance
The more your high level assistant gets to know you, your preferences, and your priorities, the better she’ll be able to attend to (and anticipate!) your needs. Sometimes, we get so busy that we don’t even have time to think about what our top household agenda items are. But estate managers and personal assistants are skilled at asking targeted questions to zero in on your priorities. They just need a chance to ask them. In turn, this enables her to give clear direction to the staff and keep them focused on your most pressing projects.
Over time, your EM or PA will be able to determine your most urgent needs, efficiently execute your requests, and (almost) psychically anticipate your future asks. But she can’t achieve ninja-level proficiency without first understanding how you operate. Giving your Assistant a chance to ask questions and solicit feedback will enable her to achieve peak performance.
4. Increase Job Satisfaction and Retention
Making time for your staff shows them that you value their contributions to your home. Employees who feel appreciated and valued are generally happier and more likely to stay on for the long haul. Creating a productive space for your right-hand assistant to ask questions, touch base on your goals, and get feedback on his performance in a timely manner will alleviate potential misunderstandings and help to stem employee frustration. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for you to praise your EM or PA for a job well done!
Turnover costs time and money. Worse, it hurts morale – for everyone that works in your home When an employee moves on, you’ll likely find yourself spending hours interviewing and training a replacement. Retaining staff (assuming they’re solid performers) is a much more efficient way to run your household. So, doing what you can to increase employee satisfaction will almost always be a worthwhile investment. Employees who feel heard and appreciated tend to stick around. Creating a culture that values open communication and encouragement is key.
It can feel daunting to squeeze yet another weekly meeting into an already packed schedule. But, the return on investment can be exponential. By setting aside less than a half an hour once a week for a face-to-face chat with your assistant, you’ll help her to excel in her role, meet (and exceed) your expectations, and increase her overall job satisfaction, thus saving you time, money and future headaches. And this impacts all your staff members in a positive way.