Let’s hear it for the EA! Part 3

Last issue we heard about the evolution of the high-level assistant from the point of view of some talented and insightful EAs – our readers! This time, it’s over to the bosses and others who may not do the role but know it inside out…  

Kate Garbett, vice president of Office Angels and Adecco Branch Network for UK

Kate started her journey as a PA and now has more than 18 years’ experience in recruitment. Having been an EA and helped recruit them, her experience of the ever-changing landscape of the role is invaluable.

Whilst technology has helped shape the new era EA role considerably, at the heart of all EA and PA roles is a caring, organised and methodical individual.

The advancement in technology has taken away the need for the more personal side of the PA role, with online shopping and the ability to work while travelling both freeing up time constraints of a busy exec, and the traditional EA role is more of a strategic partner. Internal engagement is key – designing webinars, competitions and communications on behalf of who you support. Focusing on the importance of creativity and design is now more crucial than ever.

Whilst an EA may mostly supports one or two key executives, the number of senior stakeholders they engage with and positively influence has increased dramatically. They are often working with other EAs and managing time for key decision makers. This means great interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships is more crucial than ever especially given most of these key people are now not based in one office most of the time.

An EA is a complex individual; someone who can wear many hats. There are many similar personality traits that have stayed the same across the past 30 years including an ability to stay calm under pressure, prioritisation and planning, diary management and great communication skills. 

But there are also many new skills that a modern-day EA needs, from being tech-savvy and a strategic thinker to being more creative. Often they are the brand ambassador of the person they are supporting and may need to keep engagement going on social media or think about how to engage with employees internally.

Thirty years ago, all communication would be carried out during face-to-face meetings or on the telephone plugged into a desk. Now, we are looking at Teams calls, mobile calls, emails and WhatsApp chats all happening simultaneously, meaning planning has never been more important to an EA. 

An EA is now thought of as an absolutely integral part of a business and when paired correctly, an extension of the executive themselves rather than a luxury who helps to manage diaries. To work so closely and with such insight and forethought means that most executives would be completely lost without their EAs.”

Kate Garbett, vice president of Office Angels and Adecco Branch Network for UK

with the right technology, are well placed to offer teams new opportunities to grow and evolve in step with the zeitgeist.”

EAs can help improve leaders’ mental health and wellbeing, research shows

A Research from Tiger Recruitment shows just that – three-quarters (73%) of surveyed bosses said personal assistants improved their mental wellbeing and reduced stress, while leaders without a PA are reported to work over an additional month per year compared to those with an EA!