Business

Outsourced Administrative Services: 2 Main Service Types & How to Choose the Best One for You

Jason Hreha
Nov 10, 2022
7
min read

If you’re searching for third party admin support, it’s important to understand that there are two main options to choose from. This article discusses each to help you understand which is best for you.

Outsourced Administrative Services: 2 Main Service Types & How to Choose the Best One for You

Leveraging outsourced administrative services can be a great alternative to the time-consuming and resource intensive process of hiring administrative staff in-house. However, if you’re searching for third party admin support, it’s important to understand that there are two main options to choose from:

  1. Dedicated Administrative Support: Services where you get a dedicated assistant that works directly with and for you on an ongoing basis.
  2. Floating or Rotating Administrative Support: Services where you do not receive a dedicated administrative assistant. Instead, you select a set of administrative functions to outsource to the service, and a rotation of miscellaneous people at the outsourcing company perform those tasks. 

In our experience providing top tier administrative support to our clients over the last 4 years, option #1—dedicated administrative support—is the better option for most businesses. 

In this article, we’re going to explain why, and discuss a key factor to consider when choosing which service to hire. For example, how thoroughly does the administrative service provider evaluate their staff to ensure they offer highly competent admin support?

There are several outsourcing solutions out there, and it’s difficult to figure out which one would be best for you. By reading this article, you’ll be better informed to make the right decision for your business needs and preferences. 

Below, we cover:

Note: Our unique hiring methodology enables us to find top tier, dedicated assistants for our clients. We hire roughly 1 out of every 1,000 candidates. If you’ve been wanting an assistant but haven’t had the time to hire one, or you want to shortcut the hiring process, click here to get started. You can try an assistant for a month or two and see how you like it. For testimonials from our clients, check out our homepage.

Why should you utilize outsourced administrative services?

Benefit #1: Keep Internal Resources Focused on Core Business Activities

Many businesses that need administrative support are already in the weeds, lacking adequate time to spend on the core functions that drive their business forward: product, business development, fundraising, etc. 

Any internal resources spent managing the hiring process of in-house admin staff is further time and resources taken away from the most pressing or important work that needs to be done. 

By leveraging administrative outsourcing providers, you and your staff can avoid spreading yourselves thin, and remain focused on your core business activities.

Benefit #2: Save Time and Get Admin Support Up and Running Faster

Hiring in-house administrative staff can take weeks or months to do properly (writing a unique job description, reaching quality applicants, thoroughly evaluating top candidates). And once a candidate has been selected, there’s additional time needed to train and onboard them. 

All told, getting in-house admin support hired and up and running can take 3 to 6 months. This can be particularly painful for businesses who need help ASAP

By using a service, you can cut down the time it takes to get admin support by removing the hiring process (the hiring has already been done for you). And ideally, if the service has hired correctly, their support staff should be quick to learn your processes, reducing onboarding time as well. 

On average, clients of our executive assistant service have highly competent, fully dedicated admin support up and running in just 2 to 3 weeks. 

Benefit #3: Leverage Administrative Hiring Expertise to Get Higher Level Talent

Most businesses do not have sophisticated processes for hiring administrative support. For example, they don’t have the equivalent of a coding challenge that’s used when hiring an engineer—a test that proves a person’s abilities before they’re hired. So, they tend to base their hiring decisions around candidates’ resumes, and how well they speak during their interview. But as we’ll explain below, this often leads to lackluster administrative hires.

With that said, if you choose the right service—one that has specialized processes for hiring administrative roles—you can also benefit from a higher level of talent than you’d likely find on your own.

Now, we’re going to discuss hiring processes further in a moment, as this is a key factor to consider when choosing a service. But first, let’s look at why we believe dedicated admin support services (i.e. dedicated assistants) beat rotating admin support.

The biggest issue with using floating or rotating administrative services is that no learning occurs. The people that work on your administrative tasks are different from day to day, so you’re paying for them to figure out how to do your task anew each time. This is markedly less efficient than the same, dedicated person being responsible for managing your admin on an ongoing basis.

In addition, this also means that you’ll naturally get the worst quality work possible on your tasks, since the people working on them will often be doing them for the first time, and will not yet have received feedback on whether they’re performing the tasks to your standards. The only way people can get really good at doing what you need and meeting your standards is by working with you over time. This is totally absent with rotating admin support services. 

So you get: the least efficient work possible, and the worst quality work possible. It’s a lose-lose.

For these reasons, we’ve designed our service around offering dedicated assistants to our clients, and recommend seeking dedicated admin assistants versus rotating assistant services.

Regardless of the type of service you choose, the key factor that will determine the quality of the service and the value they deliver is whether or not they have a sophisticated process for finding highly competent administrative staff. 

So, when weighing services, you want to understand if they have specialized, effective methods for vetting and measuring the abilities of the people they hire—or, if they do what most companies and services do: hire based on resumes and a few short interview conversations.

We’ve written at length about the issues with relying solely on resumes and interviews when hiring administrative staff. Check out our founding story for an in-depth discussion of the problems with this.

In short, being a great administrative assistant requires a specific set of abilities and traits that you can’t measure accurately by looking at a resume and having a conversation.

For example, you can’t really tell how good of a problem solver someone is, or how detail oriented they are, through a resume and an interview. And yet, these are the qualities that are needed to be successful in the role!

Therefore, additional forms of vetting are needed to determine whether candidates have these nuanced traits and abilities to truly be effective on the job.

So, when vetting admin services, be sure to ask them:

  • What specific attributes do they look for when hiring assistants or administrators for their service?
  • Do they directly measure those attributes during their hiring process?
  • How do they measure those attributes? What specifically do they do?

If the service doesn’t seem to do much more than resume reviews and interviews, or they’re unwilling to share with you about the details of their hiring process, you should look for one that has a more transparent, rigorous vetting process to ensure you get highly competent admin support.

Now, let’s look at how we’ve addressed these hiring issues with the remote executive assistant service we offer at Persona.

We’ve used our backgrounds in behavioral science and assessment design to create a hiring methodology that directly and thoroughly measures candidates based on the abilities and traits that have been shown to predict success in an administrative assistant role. Specifically:

  1. Problem Solving Ability: How smart are they? Can they figure things out in new and complex situations? 
  2. Key Character and Behavioral Traits: Are they organized, reliable, trustworthy, detail-oriented, etc.?
  3. Communication Ability: How well do they write and communicate? Can they play the role of gatekeeper, communicating on your behalf or alongside you with key stakeholders (executive team members, board members, investors, etc.)?
  4. Tech-Savviness: How comfortable are they with learning new technologies and software? How quickly can they pick up and learn the programs that modern companies use to run their businesses?  

And rather than make assumptions about the extent to which candidates possess these traits and abilities based on relatively little data (resumes and interviews), we use a tailored mix of the following when assessing candidates:

  • Quantitative assessments: Tests that allow us to evaluate candidates accurately on key generalist abilities. 
  • Structured interviews: A strategic interview process to cross-compare candidates on the qualities and abilities that matter.
  • Work sample projects: Mock projects to see the quality of their work, based on the types of project-based or administrative tasks they’re likely to do in an assistant role.
  • Communication exercises: Exercises to evaluate candidates on key communication skills such as email etiquette. 
  • Reference and background checks: A structured approach to interviewing candidates’ references.

Through deploying additional forms of assessment such as work sample projects and communication exercises, we’re able to directly measure how candidates perform the exact types of tasks that they’ll be responsible for on the job. We have concrete evidence that they have what it takes to be successful in the role before we hire them. And as a result, we’re able to consistently deliver top talent assistants to the executives and businesses we serve.

Currently, our assistants manage some combination of the following for our clients (much of which goes beyond the purview of the average admin assistant):

  • Communications: Manage email, communicate on an executive’s behalf and alongside them with key team members and stakeholders.
  • Scheduling and time management: Manage an executive’s calendar, schedule meetings and phone calls, resolve scheduling issues, balance personal appointments with work meetings.
  • Project management: Manage the executive’s to-dos, ensure they stay up to date and on track with their key projects.
  • Business operations: Help create, organize, and improve on internal business processes and standard operating procedures. Help with recurring administrative assistant tasks such as data entry.
  • Marketing and social media management: Create and schedule social media posts on top platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, monitor engagement metrics, respond to comments, help grow overall online presence. 
  • People operations: Support human resources efforts to manage employee onboarding, assist in employee recruitment (e.g. reviewing resumes and cover letters for certain criteria), manage payroll, etc.
  • Strategic planning: Work with the company leaders to define and come up with plans for new products, initiatives, and services. Project manage some or all of these new company programs. 
  • Client services: Handle important interactions with clients (e.g. customer support, invoicing, etc.). Provide ideas and feedback about how to improve systems and processes.
  • Special projects: Manage a wide variety of unique projects depending on what your executive needs. For example, our EAs have worked on things like light graphic design in Canva, workflow design, transcription, lead generation, CRM management, Amazon eCommerce management, and more.
  • Personal assistant tasks: Help make online orders, reservations, travel arrangements, and other accommodations for executives’ personal lives.

Try Outsourcing Your Work to a World-Class, Fully Dedicated Assistant with Persona

We provide world-class administrative support for all types of industries, including tech startups, non-profits, real estate, professional services, financial services, and more.

If you’re a founder, business owner, or senior executive interested in trying out one of our top caliber assistants, you can try one for a month or two and see how you like it. We require no long-term commitments. 

Here’s how to get started with us: 

  • Step 1: Complete our form to let us know your needs. 
  • Step 2: If you’re a good fit, we’ll set up a call to discuss our service and pricing with you.
  • Step 3: Our team will hand pick a superb executive assistant who we think will be a great fit for you based on your preferences and business needs.
  • Step 4: Our talent team will guide you through the onboarding process.
  • Step 5: For a flat monthly rate, you get a world-class assistant that equates to a full-time employee (40 hours of remote work per week, with no long-term commitment needed).

If you’re ready to try a dedicated assistant that can be truly transformative for your business, click here to get started. For testimonials from our clients, check out our homepage.

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