How do you onboard a new assistant? Or how do you onboard a new CEO? Great questions!
The first six weeks of my job as Executive Assistant to the CEO/Co-Founder of a new artificial intelligence software company was hectic – as is the case with most startups – but overall it went well. This is a post I wrote while in the thick of the “newness” in early 2017.
The Startup Life
As I began my new gig, I decided it was ok to miss my personal goal of writing once a week. I chose instead to focus all my energy and time on my family, the new job, and sleep. Between the three, there really wasn’t much time left.
But now that I’m in a bit of a groove, I want to get back to writing. So I’ll consider this post a fresh start.
5 Tips for Onboarding a New Assistant
One thing my new job has reminded me of is this – the first few weeks in a new assistant / executive relationship are extremely crucial. So how do you get started on the right foot? How do you get acclimated with each other while still getting work done?
There are a few things my boss and I have done to kick off this adventure, so here are my thoughts after 6 weeks on the job…
1. Meet Frequently
Early on, you should meet with your assistant as often as possible, if not every day. This could be a simple 15-minute check in most days, but for the first few days you need a few focused hours to go over everything.
2. Encourage Questioning
Your new assistant should be asking questions. If they’re not, they may just be intimidated. Explicitly tell them it’s ok for them to ask you questions. I wrote more on this here: 6 Questions Your Assistant Should Ask You.
3. Establish a Rhythm
In the long run, you need to meet with your assistant every week, so you might as well get it on the calendar in week one or two. I wrote more about this here: The Most Important Meeting of Your Week.
4. Be Flexible
If your assistant mentions they aren’t feeling well, tell them to go home early and get some rest – even if it’s the first week on the job. Do they want to take their kid to the dentist one morning? Tell them to do it and make up the missed time elsewhere. Show your assistant you are flexible and care about their overall health from week one.
5. Clarify Expectations
You should have done this in the interview process, but even if you did, there’s likely more work to be done. Answer questions like, when is your assistant “on call”? Should they add your wife to calendar events or not? Can they schedule phone calls in the evenings? And so on. I plan to write more on this topic this year, so be sure to sign up for my email list so you don’t miss it.
Of course, the above list is not exhaustive by any means, so let me know in the comments if you think of more ways to get started on the right foot with a new assistant. Talk to you next week (Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise)!
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