FRANCHISEE'S TRAINING - DAY 6
III. Office Administration Training
Administrative procedures are a set or system of rules that govern the procedures for managing an organization. These procedures are meant to establish efficiency, consistency, responsibility, and accountability.
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to professionally administer and manage office communications and procedures.
a. Understand the important aspects of good human relations.
b. Professionally answer and place telephone calls within an office.
c. Handle incoming and outgoing mail and email.
d. Analyze where your time is spent and identify common time wasters.
The Importance of Administrative Procedures
Administrative procedures are important because they provide an objective set of rules by which an organization is governed. They also help establish the legitimacy of management action by ensuring the application of management rules and decisions is done in an objective, fair, and consistent manner. Finally, they help ensure that managers are held accountable for decisions that deviate from the procedures.
Skills an Administrative Person Must Possess:
1) Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
2) Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
3) Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
4) Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
5) Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
6) Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
7) Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
8) Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
9) Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
10) Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
11) Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
12) Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
13) Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
14) Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
15) Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
16) Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
What are the different areas of administrative procedures one must know or learn?
a. Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
b. Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
c. English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
d. Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
e. Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
f. Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
g. Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
h. Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Important Administrative Procedure Work Styles:
1) Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
2) Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
3) Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
4) Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
5) Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
6) Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
7) Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
8) Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
9) Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
10) Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone and being personally connected with others on the job.
11) Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
12) Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
13) Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
14) Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
15) Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
16) Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction
Administrative assistants utilize a variety of skills to ensure the efficiency of business operations. Responsibilities can include answering the phone, editing documents, and maintaining filing systems. A high school diploma or GED, experience in word processing, and the ability to multi-task are common requirements.
An administrative assistant is the go-to person in office environments. By providing clerical and general administrative support to a manager or a department, administrative assistants keep an organization running smoothly. Although there are no educational requirements to become an administrative assistant other than a high school diploma or GED, formal education programs are available. Some employers may require an associate degree.
a. Explain the importance of the role of the administrative professional in today’s workplace.
b. List the skills and abilities needed to achieve success in the administrative professional field.
c. Identify current trends and opportunities for administrative professionals.
Your Professional Image:
The image that you project plays a critical role in developing your career. This lesson focuses on what it takes for you to develop and improve your professional image.
a. Identify strategies for developing and enhancing your professional image.
b. Identify resources to assist you in developing and maintaining a professional image.
c. Evaluate your professional image.
d. Write goals and action plans to improve your professional image.
Ways To Improve Your Professional Image:
1. Keep Your Social Media Clean -
What you write on social media is a window into your life. It tells people a lot about what you think about the world, what you do with your day, the sort of people you admire and the issues that enthuse you.
People often don’t realize that some social media sites (such as Facebook) give people a lot of unexpected information, even if your profile is set to private. For example, posts that you’ve “liked” may show up on other timelines – the audience depends on the privacy settings of the original post, not your own. On Facebook, if the post has a “globe” icon next to it, it means it’s public. Anyone can see it.
The same applies to comments on newspaper articles – if someone Googles your name, a comment under your real name might well show up.
One way of handling this is to take the extreme path of not ever letting a client or potential client have access to your personal social media accounts, and always using a fake name for public comments. The easier option is to use social media to your advantage – make your posts positive, match what you say to the image you want to project. Be genuine, but be circumspect.
If that sounds like a pain, you might consider having a separate, sanitized work profile. However, your personal posts could end up being read by clients regardless, through the above mechanisms. You really can never be too careful!
2. Keep Your Personal Life Personal -
If you got horribly drunk at the weekend and passed out in a park, you might think it’s an amusing story to relate on Twitter or to your client the next day. However, if you’re trying to build a reputation for reliability and professionalism, it would be best to keep this sort of raw personal detail to yourself.
In fact, it might be worth cutting out the binges, full stop – your liver will thank you! You also have to think hard about any personal interchange – don’t moan to clients about the day you’ve had, your health or your boy/girlfriend.
It is, however, true that many clients like a little personal interaction, and will bond better with you for knowing you love dogs, the local baseball team, chocolate, or whatever. The key is to keep things positive, take your cues from your client, and steer clear of anything controversial.
3. Create The Right Associations -
It’s important to associate yourself with people, pursuits, and organizations that help to further the professional image you want to project. If you specialize, join the main relevant associations or forums. Make connections with recognized leaders in your area on LinkedIn.
It should go without saying that if you’re going to see a client (whether in person or online, for instance on Skype) you should dress to impress. Your hair, clothes, and general grooming all send out messages about who you are, and need to work with the grain of the image you’re trying to project.
This doesn’t mean wearing a suit at all times and becoming a member of Planet Boring – know your audience, and what they expect. Understand the level of formality (or informality) that will appeal to your potential clients, and adapt your personal style to suit.
4. Be Positive -
Do you constantly find the faults in any argument, the flaws to any process, or the reasons why someone’s plans are bound to fail? While it’s great to be able to see problems before they arise, being relentlessly negative doesn’t endear you to clients (or anyone, to be honest).
Take a positive attitude towards your work, and you’ll find that your professional image benefits. Constructive criticism is an art that’s well worth practicing. Rather than declaring “that won’t work!”, try to present solutions.
If you can do this without seeming overbearing, that will really help. For example, you could say something like “That’s a great idea, and I think we can make it work by doing X”. Using a positive word like “and” rather than “but” reinforces the message that you want to help, and that you’re not rejecting a pet idea out of hand.
5. Be Respectful -
Is there anything worse than a lack of respect? Whether this is evidenced by your lateness, rudeness, boredom, lack of communication or just lack of attention to detail, disrespect of any kind tells potential clients you’re not really interested in them.
The moral is, treat everyone with respect regardless of whether you’re working with them currently or not. The image that you build up is founded on how you treat people, so treat them well. Word gets around.
In essence, your overall people skills need honing if you want to sharpen up your professional image and be a successful freelancer – you have to have good manners, an understanding of social etiquette, and have a measure of charm.
6. Deliver On Your Promise -
If you promise to do something to a particular remit and a set deadline, do it. Unless there’s a major catastrophe, a commitment is a commitment (and even then, you should make sure your client is the first to know if things go awry).
Don’t ever provide less than you say you will. Act with integrity – make sure if you say you can do something, that you are able to deliver it. It’s unfortunately common to say you have more experience than you do, or that you’re an expert in something you’ve only glanced at – but if your lies are exposed, they will shatter that carefully built professional image. Don’t do it.
Stress and Time Management -
This lesson teaches you how to apply stress-reducing techniques to a tense situation.
a. Identify common stressors and symptoms of stress.
b. Discuss effective stress management coping strategies.
c. Set goals and determine priorities.
d. Establish efficient, effective daily routines.
Whatever the cause, and however it manifests, workplace stress continues to be a problem—one that can cause reduced productivity, increase in accidents, and a spike in costs. As managers and supervisors you need to look out for workers exhibiting signs of stress but since no 2 employees will exhibit identical signs and symptoms – your job isn’t an easy one. This is a great Blog to share with your workers so that working together you can reduce stress in the workplace and save money at the same time.
Recognizing the warning signs of stress:
The signs and symptoms of job stress vary from person to person and one must be cognizant that experiencing one or more of the symptoms below does NOT indicate that an individual is seriously stressed. It is important for managers and supervisors to look out for behavioral changes that can be linked with stress -
a. Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
b. Apathy, loss of interest in work
c. Problems sleeping
e. Trouble concentrating
f. Muscle tension or headaches
g. Stomach problems
h. Social withdrawal
i. Loss of sex drive
j. Using alcohol or drugs to cope
k. Poor work performance
Tips to Reduce Stress:
Since the causes of workplace stress vary greatly, so do the strategies to reduce or prevent it. According to the mayo clinic - effective time management is a primary means to a less stressful life. They offer the following tips to help stressed employees reduce stress and become more productive.
a. Plan each day. Planning your day can help you accomplish more and feel more in control of your life. Write a to-do list, putting the most important tasks at the top. Keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.
b. Prioritize your tasks. Time-consuming but relatively unimportant tasks can consume a lot of your day. Prioritizing tasks will ensure that you spend your time and energy on those that are truly important to you.
c. Say no to nonessential tasks. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.
d. Delegate. Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else.
e. Take the time you need to do a quality job. Doing work right the first time may take more time upfront, but errors usually result in time spent making corrections, which takes more time overall.
f. Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done.
g. Practice the 10-minute rule. Work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day. Once you get started, you may find you can finish it.
h. Evaluate how you're spending your time. Keep a diary of everything you do for three days to determine how you're spending your time. Look for time that can be used more wisely. For example, could you take a bus or train to work and use the commute to catch up on reading? If so, you could free up some time to exercise or spend with family or friends.
i. Limit distractions. Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off your phone, pager, and email.
j. Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time.
k. Take a time management course. If your employer offers continuing education, take a time management class. If your workplace doesn't have one, find out if a local community college, university or community education program does.
l. Take a break when needed. Too much stress can derail your attempts at getting organized. When you need a break, take one. Take a walk. Do some quick stretches at your workstation. Take a day of vacation to rest and re-energize.
An administrative manual is synonymous with an office procedures manual. It outlines the general procedures and policies that govern the way in which the office is managed. It will generally describe in detail the responsibilities and duties of a specific position, especially in an office where there may be a variety of personnel performing similar tasks. Your Administrative Manual is part of your Franchise Kit.