Procedures are also a brilliant way to advance your career. Whether you’re looking to climb the ladder in your current company or change your job entirely, having documented procedures makes you a more desirable candidate!
1. Procedures Facilitate Your Ability to Lead
There is a lot to be said for go-getters, especially in the administrative field. Executives need an assistant who can see what needs to be done and do it with little or no handholding required, and taking the initiative to create procedures for your office is the perfect way to demonstrate that you’re willing to take the lead. I know this from personal experience!
When I was in the corporate world, I held several different administrative positions. None of the companies I worked for had a procedures manual when I started — but they certainly did when I finished!
My first priority when starting a new job was to combine all the information, resources, and notes that I’d collected during my training period. These served as the foundation for my admin binder. Over time, I continued to add to my procedures manual each time I came across something I felt should be included.
I wasn’t shy about sharing my manual with my executives, and they were always amazed that I had taken the initiative to put this invaluable tool together. This simple action led to other department heads sending their new admins to spend a few hours training with me during their first few days on the job. And I communicated updates or changes in my procedures to these other admins as I updated my own binder.
To keep all of the admins in my division connected and communicating department-specific policies and procedure updates, I took it upon myself to initiate quarterly admin lunches. We had to get approval for these meetings to be expensed, but it was an easy decision for the executives we supported — because they could already see the value in what we were proposing. Not only did we all get out of the office once a quarter, we also stayed involved with the interworking of our individual departments. This greatly improved the flow of work and communication between departments.
Because I had taken the initiative to create my original admin binder, and then chose to share it with others, I became recognized as an administrative leader within my company — and you can, too!
La Shawn, an admin in the insurance industry from Chicago, had this to say about creating her procedures: “I was preparing to go on medical leave and would be gone for at least eight weeks. At the time, I was supporting two busy senior officers and knew that anyone coming in to cover for me would be totally overwhelmed. So, to prevent that from happening, I started developing my administrative procedures binder. From a professional development perspective, my managers were blown away. My direct manager said ‘The binder, which could potentially be used by all employees with secretarial functions throughout the association, demonstrated not only that she has a thorough understanding of her job duties, responsibilities, and performance expectations, but also that she is willing to share her knowledge with others for the benefit of the association.’ I am very pleased with the results and the many compliments I have received. It’s a very rewarding feeling.”
2. Procedures Are Part of the Legacy You Leave Behind
Have you ever walked in blind to a new position, relying solely on a few handwritten training notes and your own sheer tenacity? If so, you can definitely appreciate just how beneficial your procedures could be for the next new admin in your company!
Your administrative procedures are your legacy. Long after you’ve moved on to bigger and better things, they will remain as a testament to your initiative, devotion, and determination to better your office.
“It’s particularly refreshing to consider all aspects, given the longevity of my tenure,” says Debbie, an admin who participated in our 5-Day Challenge. “In reflecting back on my arrival into this particular position with no ‘passing of the baton of knowledge of ongoing tasks,’ I feel that part of my role is to plan for future transitions so that they will be easier on my executive and the organization!”
Procedures truly are part of the vestige you leave when you move from position to position, whether internally or externally. And they really do demonstrate the care, concern, and respect you have for your colleagues and everyone you support!
3. Procedures Help Prepare You (And Others) For Opportunity
Opportunity rarely ever waits for an invitation; the best thing you can do to prepare for its arrival is to be ready to fling open the door when it knocks. And taking the initiative to create procedures now will make answering that knock even easier, because procedures keep you constantly at the top of your game!
Another recent challenge participant, Jennifer, said her procedures started out as a way to “brush up on my skills and organize myself for training, but quickly turned into ‘this process will positively alter my business!’ I keep too much in my head, and this blocks others from stepping into their gifts.”
Jennifer has the vision! Procedures can be a valuable business tool that reaches far beyond just enabling someone to cover for you while you’re on vacation or attending to other work-related matters. Sure, the creation process can sometimes be overwhelming, but it can also launch you (and others) into opportunities you never dreamed possible!
Life happens. Career opportunities show up. You have to be ready. There are always going to be some last-minute things you need to wrap up when you’re moving on, but procedures shouldn’t be on that list. They should already be done and ready — and all you should need to do is a cursory review to make sure they’re ready to be handed off.
Procedures aren’t just for admins. Procedures are for business!
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.