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Compatink / Office Manager / What a great admin team looks like.

What a great admin team looks like.

Let’s start by saying that building any team, let alone a great admin team, isn’t an easy task!  Like most things it takes time, trust and if we’re honest a lot of patience!

It’s about building such a strong team that everything functions without the need for rigorous hands-on management.  Every team member feels valued (a big factor within admin teams) and because of this their productivity levels not only increase but they will continue to go above and beyond for you and the business.

If we start from the very beginning; building a great admin team starts with recruitment!  Recruiting the right people for the right roles.  Of course, it’s about making sure that skills and ability match with the requirements of the role. However, just as crucial now is making sure that people’s personality’s fit.  Think about what personalities you already have in the team. What would work well and be a good fit and what would be a nightmare and cause disruption? LinkedIn have recently reported on some valuable research which highlighted that recruiters now look for what “soft skills” candidates can offer. These are things such as team work and flexibility. As quite often and especially within admin teams, the skills for the role can often be learnt on the job. 

It’s also important to get your team involved in the recruitment process and gain their feedback on potential candidates.  What is their initial reaction? do they see a fit within the team – ultimately could they all work together?! 

Once you have your recruitment sorted and the perfect blend of people to carry out the assortment of jobs and tasks that come your way, its vital that you schedule in regular team meetings!

This is important for any team of course, but for the admin team it’s crucial.  Passing on the most need to know information, the ins and outs of everything (including the gossip and hearsay!).  They get chance to share top tips and time saving techniques. Also, the team can discuss the things that aren’t working so well. Communication is key in any company sizeable enough to ave multiple departments. Changes to the role can be passed on and discussed. No-one knows how a change can be bad or good more than the people doing the job.

Everyone hates a meeting that could’ve been an email but the value of regular meetings can be ignored. Striking the right balance is important. Even if its just 1 hour a week to get together and chit chat under the pretence of  ‘serious meeting. The bond generated in a team by this can help build those relationships which ensure a smooth and efficient working environment. 

Help to make life a little easier.  

Not making everything as manual is key.  Things like franking can now be made so much easier with new equipment, scheduling of appointments and tasks can be streamlined using downloaded data software.  Scheduling of regular deliveries from your storage warehouse, using an easy tracking system too when stocks begin to run low. Using companies who you can trust, like Compatink who can help with all of your printer needs – making sure you can not only find the ink and toner you need quickly but you can also register your products and receive automatic updates when ink levels dip too low and you need to re-stock before someone has a breakdown that the ink/toner has run out before they’ve finished printing!

Encourage teamwork and show your team they can trust you.  

This is a big point for us.  We’re keen advocates to show that when the going gets tough, we roll our sleeves up and get on with the job at hand too! A good manager cannot be afraid to get stuck in.  It helps to bring a certain level of respect, camaraderie as well as ultimately a show of teamwork! It also has a real positive affect and influence on the team, so much so that they will go the extra mile when called upon and they won’t think twice when it comes to helping you out when you need it the most. Nothing makes workers lose moral faster than a lazy manager who thinks they’re somehow above doing the actual job in an ‘all hands on deck’ situation. More on great managers Here and here. 

Get help when you need it.  

Don’t put all of the pressure on your admin team and accept that there will be times when you need additional support.  Whether this be as the business grows and the demands on your team grow, or maybe situations have changed slightly and that within your team you now need a more specialised role, for example.  Look for freelancers or contractors who can help to alleviate some of the pressure over your busiest periods and show your team you’re listening and actively finding solutions. Sites such as Office Angels are great at providing short term office solutions, as well as online sites such as PeoplePerHour for freelancers and contractors.

Build an alliance of trusted suppliers.  

We’ve touched on this briefly before but building a strong relationship with suppliers helps to soon let them become an extension almost of your team.  They know what you want and when you want it and when you make that stressed order they understand and will go out of their way to help support you as best they can.  Again, think about companies such as Compatink who actively look to save you time and money!

Show your appreciation!

 Saying thank you for a job well done can go a long way.  It links back to the raising morale and making team members feel valued.  Also look to personalise the thank you depending on the person. Acknowledge that not everyone likes a big shout out in the team meeting and some prefer just a simple note.  It’s about understanding your team and regularly reinforcing positive performance.

Tied to this is also showing that it’s OK to make mistakes occasionally, as long as lessons are learnt, and the failure wasn’t deliberate or done with intent.  When team members are aware of this, they’re more likely to come to you with more creative solutions to problems, again morale is boosted as everyone feels they can have a valid input and say. 

There’s no magic wand unfortunately in creating a great team.  However, providing your team with the knowledge, skills and training they need to achieve the high standards that you and the rest of the business will place on them is a good start.

Including everyone in feedback and updates and also looking to streamline certain activities has a big impact on staff motivation.  Working with companies and software systems that will ultimately make everyone’s life easier is most definitely key.

Oh, and of course don’t forget to stock up on those thank you notes too!

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