The seven must-have skills for admin staff

by Brett Henebery15 May 2017
Given the crucial role that administrative support plays within organisations, it’s perhaps not surprising that such skills are in strong demand.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in March revealed a year-on-year increase of 9% for administration employment since February 2015.

However, despite what some may think, there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ administrative role.

Organisations are always looking for administrative professionals who fit in specifically with their unique corporate goals and culture. Nevertheless, there are a number of must-have skills that are at the top of the list for most companies.

Below, specialised recruitment company, Robert Half, reveals the most sought-after administrative skills for Australian professionals:

1. Microsoft Office: A strong background in all Microsoft Office programs is crucial for those in administrative roles. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook form the basis of many business communications and processes.

2. Communication skills: Communication is a longstanding must-have skill for those in administrative roles. All types of communication are vital for this type of professional.

3. The ability to work autonomously: In addition to being able to show initiative, the ability to work autonomously is well regarded in roles that provide business support. 

4. Database management: The ability to manage databases is a highly desired skill. Of course, the database of choice will depend on the programs the business uses. Employers will look for someone who is confident in their own ability and who isn’t afraid to pass this on to other staff members.

5. Enterprise Resource Planning: New technology has changed the way we work on a daily basis, and exploring technology is definitely key to moving forward within a business. A creation of this technological change, is Enterprise resource planning (ERP).

6. Social media management: Businesses are now heavily reliant on communicating with their customers, and those customers are generally found online. It is therefore becoming increasingly important for businesses to have a social media presence in order to connect and engage with audiences on a personal level.

7. A strong results focus: At the core of every support role within an organisation is a number of results that need to be achieved at any given time. Unlike other roles, the effectiveness of support roles cannot always be measured in terms of investment and there are other ways to prove employee value.

According to Harvard Business Review, one way to build these skills is through the ‘three-skill approach’, which comprises of technical skills, human skills and conceptual skills.

Technical skill implies an understanding of, and proficiency in, a specific kind of activity, particularly one involving methods, processes, procedures, or techniques.

Human skill refers to the one’s ability to work effectively as a group member and/or to build cooperative effort within the team he or she leads.

Conceptual skill involves recognising how the various functions of an organization depend on one another, and how changes in any one part affect all the others.

The three-skill approach shows that with the right training, effective administrators can be developed, allowing organisations to bypass the need to identify specific traits and utilise a more practical way of viewing administrative processes.

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