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Any successful operation has someone working behind the scenes doing what’s required to make the company get things accomplished–making sure important tasks don’t get overlooked or forgotten and coordinating all of the processes of the business. These are the “doers” of the organization–without which, many companies would just be a group of talented people with ideas or services to offer, but no way to connect all of the dots.
This person is usually an administrative assistant.
While often referred to as a “secretary” and thought of as an entry-level worker, administrative assistants are actually some of the most valuable employees because they are the ones who take action, get things done, and are proactive in helping the company achieve its goals.
But, without proper communication from other team members, these valuable employees don’t always know what’s expected from them–especially if they’re left out of important daily or weekly meetings where employees come together to discuss the current state of affairs.
In addition to understanding what is expected from them as individuals, administrative assistants need to know their department’s larger goals so they can write their own goals and prioritize their tasks.
Now, of course there are all levels of administrative assistants, depending upon the company’s needs. One administrative assistant may be expected to manage all office operations such as scheduling, filing taxes and other legal paperwork, performing bookkeeping tasks, and coordinating company events, while another may be expected to answer the phone and greet visitors as they come in the door in addition to some other minor tasks.
But either way, if you are an administrative assistant, you’re likely to be considered a “jack-of-all-trades” who can handle a variety of office management tasks while also supporting higher-level employees.
When it comes to setting your administrative assistant SMART goals, it may be difficult to establish objectives, especially if you are involved in a variety of projects or departments at work. But no matter what your goals are, they should be linked to your unique performance reviews and they should be created in the SMART goal format, meaning they’re specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
So in this article, we are going to look at seven examples of SMART goals for administrative assistants that can be used to stay focused on your unique objectives for your company. But first, let’s take another look at what a SMART goal is.
Having SMART goals as an administrative assistant will help you promote your career growth because it will set your intentions for your everyday actions to help improve your job satisfaction. Some of the ways having SMART goals will benefit you as an administrative assistant include:
Having SMART goals will help you make the most of your time in your current position to prepare you for greater responsibilities in the future. These goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Let’s look at what each of these characteristics means.
Unlike your dreams for the future, your specific goals have detail and depth that answer the who, what, when, where, and why of your vague hopes. To make a goal specific, you need to turn something like “I want to grow my business” into “I will sign on three new clients for my consulting business within the next six weeks by asking current clients for referrals, creating a social media marketing campaign, and attending networking events so I can grow my business and increase my bottom line.” This way, you know exactly what you need to do and how you’re going to do it.
How do you plan to measure your progress? How will your administrative skills be improved once your goals are achieved? You need a metric of some sort to be able to measure where you are now versus where you want to end up. This way, at any point throughout your goal-achieving timeline, you will know how far you’ve come and how far you have left to go–and, you will know when you’ve reached your goal.
It probably sounds good to think of your next promotion as being straight up to CEO, but I think you know it’s not likely to happen. An achievable goal is one that you have the skills and resources to accomplish within the given time frame. It’s great to set lofty and challenging goals, but if your goals aren’t achievable, you’ll end up frustrated and possibly even give up in the end.
Keep your bigger goals in mind while you’re making your short-term goals. Break your long-term goals down into bite-sized pieces so you can work toward that ultimate win bit by bit. This will help keep you motivated throughout the process so you can count on achieving that big goal at some point down the line.
What’s your purpose? Knowing why you set a goal will help you stay motivated to achieve it. You don’t want to spend your time working toward a goal that won’t have an impact on your bigger picture. When your goals are relevant, you’re spending your time wisely because you’re making progress toward your ultimate vision.
There are probably a lot of things that you want to get done in life, so you may have all types of goals. But to really stay focused on achieving the things that you’re truly passionate about, you need to stay on track by working on meeting the smaller objectives that will accelerate your progress–whether that is to improve your job satisfaction, build your professional network, or increase your earning potential. Be picky about how you spend your time.
Without a deadline, you will also lose a sense of urgency. Effective goals are time-bound, with a date in mind for it to be complete so you can pace yourself along the way. The time-bound factor of a SMART goal will hold you accountable for making progress and it will help you with breaking down your bigger goals into smaller pieces.
As long as your goals are time-bound, you can count on the fact that meeting your daily goal will ensure you will meet your weekly goal, which will set you up for meeting your monthly goal, and so on. These time limits will help prevent procrastination and motivate you to get to work.
Now that you know what SMART goals are, your next challenge is to decide on what kinds of goals you want to focus on to create a growth plan for your career. Keep the following things in mind as you’re creating actionable goals that are unique to your professional vision in your role as an administrative assistant and for moving forward.
Consider Your Theme
What, specifically, about your career or your performance do you want to improve? Is it your time management? Efficiency? Organization or communication skills? Knowing what you want to change or work on can help you identify where you are now–or, your starting point–and measure your progress against that baseline as you move forward.
Your Company’s Goals
Your goals can go a long way if they’re connected to your organization’s goals as well.
Read your company’s mission statement to see what aspects of your goals align with theirs. If your goals are on track with their goals, you will be on the right path for growth within the company and you can make an impact on the business’s success.
Ask for Feedback
Achieving self-growth requires getting outside feedback. You can create SMART goals that will serve you well by talking to your supervisor about the type of growth they believe you could make. Also ask your supervisor about what they perceive your strengths to be and the qualities that they appreciate about you. Knowing your strengths will allow you to leverage them to your advantage.
Research Related Qualifications
What qualifies someone to be a great administrative assistant? How do your current knowledge, skills, and abilities compare? There may be certifications or technical skills that you could gain in order to improve your employability. Aiming to refine your qualifications can increase your success, your earning potential, and your competitiveness as a prospective employee for other agencies in the future.
Keep Your Goals in Plain Sight
This may mean creating a vision board or just posting them in writing on your bulletin board–but either way, you want your SMART goals to be prominently posted somewhere that you see them every day to ensure that they stay in the front of your mind and you stay focused on the impact that your daily actions has on your goals.
Let’s take a look at some examples of SMART goals for administrative assistants.
1. “To reduce purchasing supply costs by 10% by the end of the 4th quarter, I will audit supply spending, identify and eliminate the purchase of unnecessary supplies, and maintain a supply inventory to reduce the waste of reusable supplies.”
S: This goal lays out a specific plan to reduce spending.
M: This goal is measured by the completion of a 10% reduction in supply costs by the end of the fourth quarter.
A: This is an achievable goal.
R: This goal is relevant to the overall success and profits of the company.
T: This goal has a specific deadline of the end of the fourth quarter.
Saving money is always a top priority for companies, which also makes it a big part of an administrative assistant’s job. This SMART goal may involve some research on new vendors to use for supplies or some education for staff to reduce their waste when it comes to office supplies and other expenses. Either way, this SMART goal will have a direct impact on your company’s bottom line.
2. “To streamline the scheduling processes at work and increase my efficiency, I will look into digital scheduling software, choose one, and digitize the process within the next month.”
S: You’ve stated what you want to do and why.
M: This goal is measured by choosing the best software for your company within a month.
A: This is an achievable goal.
R: Because administrative assistants often do scheduling, this is a relevant goal to help streamline the process and save time.
T: This goal has a specific deadline of one month.
Administrative assistants have the opportunity to make small changes in a company that can make a big difference for saving time and increasing productivity. Others typically focus on what has always worked in the past, but administrative assistants are in a position to make improvements to those existing processes.
3. “To improve my skills with creating publications and invitations for our company, I will learn how to use Photoshop or Illustrator by the end of this year. This will be measured by the number of people who RSVP to events or open publication emails.”
S: This goal answers the questions of who, what, when, where, and why.
M: This goal is measured by the number of people who are responsive to the communications.
A: This is an achievable goal.
R: If the company takes the time and money to host an event or create a publication, they need it to have a great first impression–which is where the initial email or invitation comes in.
T: This goal has a specific deadline of the end of the year.
Improving this skill can have a great impact on the company’s revenue. Administrative assistants are often the “face” of the company because they send communications out to fellow employees as well as clients and people who have some type of interest in the success of the business.
If these publications look sloppy, there is a good chance that people will see the company as being sloppy as well. Setting this goal is a good way for you to personally do something that can impact the whole team.
4. “I will take a course in Excel by the end of the second quarter to increase my efficiency in creating weekly updates and reports for the company.”
S: This goal demonstrates a specific thing that you want to do to increase your efficiency as an employee.
M: This goal is measured by the completion of a course prior to the end of the second quarter.
A: This is an achievable goal.
R: Seeing as many companies use Excel to create reports and there are a lot of formulas and tools you can use with this program, it would be very relevant to your success as an administrative assistant to know how to use this program.
T: This goal has a specific deadline of the end of the second quarter.
Excel can seem intimidating at first, but once you’ve mastered the basic concepts of this program, it will make your job a lot easier and your work much more efficient. Being an expert in Excel can greatly boost your employability and future job prospects because it’s a popular and very useful tool used to analyse data for companies.
5. “I will plan team-building activities once per quarter to boost employee morale and keep everyone on board with being an active and integral part of the team.”
S: This goal shows a specific task you’re going to do and why you plan to do it.
M: This goal is measured by planning and carrying out these activities once per quarter.
A: This is an achievable goal.
R: While other people need to have a part in this also, an administrative assistant is the one who sees everyone on a regular basis, so bringing coworkers together to bond with others who may work in different areas is important for the entire organization to run well as a team.
T: This goal has a specific deadline of the end of every quarter.
As the “hub” of the organization, it often falls on you to do things to bring all of the employees together. Once you’re at these events, you can:
S: This goal is specific.
M: Finishing a seminar measures your progression toward achieving this goal.
A: This is an achievable goal that will benefit you in your position.
R: This relevant goal will ensure your continuous learning and growth.
T: This goal has a deadline of the beginning of next year.
Continuous learning will benefit you in any position so you can stay up-to-date with current trends, resources, and knowledge. And to continue to be a great administrative assistant, learning about professional development is key so you can be a helpful and resourceful asset to your company.
7. “To broaden my opportunities for advancement, I will complete my bachelor’s degree in business administration by ______.”
S: You’ve stated what you want to accomplish and how it will benefit you.
M: This goal is measured by completing all of your classes by the identified date.
A: This is an achievable goal.
R: This goal is relevant to your future career in the field.
T: This goal has a deadline of the day that you determine.
While in an administrative assistant position, you’re in a great place to continue your education because you’re able to see how different departments work and potentially find your niche or passion within the business. You can then focus on this area when furthering your education, or you can pursue a more general degree that can help you excel in the administrative field you’re in.
As an administrative assistant, you’re in a unique position within your company to have an overview of so many different sectors of your team. Because of this, you can add practical and strategic value to the operation of the business, which can then help boost the success of your long-term career.
You can personalize the SMART goals laid out in this article to your specific needs. But keep in mind, setting too many goals at once is easily overwhelming, so figure out which goals are your top priority and start there. Try selecting two or three diverse goals that cater to different aspects of your career development in order to get the most impact from your work.
Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.