We hear time and time again that EAs, and all secretarial staff want to be included and to feel part of their teams. Mainly because we are a part of the team – a super important one at that! But how often do we go out of our way to help promote the company for which we work?
From my experience, surprisingly little. So where can you start?
I work in financial services, and have done for more than 10 years. When I was working for a global investment bank, I didn’t think there was possibly a way I could promote my company, basically because they were too big and I was the tiniest fish in the biggest pond. But I still did.
I utilised my network, including LinkedIn as well as past employers, to help build connections. By understanding what my company did (one of my tips to my 18 year old self), I was able to promote their software to old colleagues. It’s pretty cool to think that relationships which started with my introduction are still working today.
It’s clearly easier to have an impact when you work for a smaller company, but you still have to want to. You still have to put some thought and effort into promoting your company. You still have to actively work at the promoting.
For example, at the time of writing this blog, I work for a company which owns a company in the Alternative Finance sector. The customers of that company include institutional investors (such as the investment bank I worked for); ordinary retail lenders like you and I who are looking to invest some of our savings; and also owners of small and medium-sized business who might need some kind of finance. My network includes some very high profile people – some of whom could be interested in investing money as a retail lender. I therefore post some of our Compliance-approved articles and infographics to my LinkedIn page to put my company on their radar. I also share some of their other posts across other social media channels.
It really is as simple as that. You can even look to promote your business on your Facebook page as well, if you work somewhere which could be interesting to not just your friends and family, but their friends and families too.
You mustn’t just think about the people in your own direct circles. Think about the circles of all of those people! You probably don’t know much about them, but let me give you an example. My father was looking for a new job. He’d unfortunately lost his job and so suddenly found himself trying to look for a new one, having not been out of work for 30+ years. He works in the building trade, and I know my networks are largely financial services. I didn’t think that I knew anyone directly who could help him. But I was sure that someone I knew must know someone else who could help him. So I posted a plea to get him a job, and he ultimately got one – someone saw my post and contact him.
If you are like me, you attend networking events. I like to go to as many as I can (within reason!) as I generally really enjoy them. I get to see new venues for dinners and events, and I always meet interesting new people. That’s my favourite part – learning about all the different companies other PAs work for.
But I’ve met quite a few people who appeared to not understand how their business worked, or how their own role fitted in within their organisation.
Guys, it’s up to us to take the initiative to find out. I know enough about my company to probably hold an initial conversation with an accountant or broker to see if they might be interested in doing business with us. Could you say the same about your company?
One person I met at a networking event worked for a company which dealt with corporate hospitality. I knew that my company would be looking into spending money in this area in the next 6 months or so, so I made sure I took her details and kept in touch (plus she’s a really nice person and I wanted to hang out with her again!). If she hadn’t known about her company, they could have missed out on some business, and I would have had to spend hours further down the line trying to find a company like this.
You can add value to your company by promoting it. It sounds pretty obvious, but why wouldn’t you? If you promote your company, even as a great place to work (if it is!), you can attract other great people to work there. That, in turn, will mean that the company is likely to be more successful. Also, how great is it when your boss asks you to do some research on a particular subject and you met someone in that area at a networking event a few weeks previously? You don’t even have to tell them- just let them carry on thinking that you are awesome!
I’ve managed to build up a massive network of awesome PAs, EAs and Office Managers from all different industries. I also know a whole heap of people in hospitality at hotels and restaurants, as well as some amazing venue finding people (like those over at Shout About London) so whenever I need help with anything, there will be someone I can reach out to for help. I’ve even spoken to suppliers at conferences and put them in touch with our sales guys when I learn that they are looking for a business loan!
It’s Our Obligation
I think that some of the reason behind why we don’t promote our businesses is because we don’t feel like we should. We often aren’t confident in our own ability or right to tell people about our company. I get it. I’ve felt like that in the past. I felt like I was there to do my admin job and that I should leave the selling to the sales team. To be honest, looking back, I don’t know if promoting my company was even on my radar!
But we absolutely should promote it! We have just as much right to be able to learn about the business in which we work for the purpose of being able to sell it to people when we are asked about it. It’s our obligation as an employee to be able to at least explain what they do. What WE do. We are part of the company just as much as the marketing person, the accounts team and the management team.
So when you can next grab five minutes with your boss and ask them a question about what the company does and why. Then when someone asks you that same question, you can tell them all about the company and actually sound like you are proud to work there.