Published on 10th October 2018
Ambition hosted our first ever Business Support event on Tuesday 9th October, at the beautiful Eight Club in Moorgate.
The event was well attended by Senior Business Support Leaders across Professional Services. The format of the event was an informal, roundtable discussion on a number of hot topics, over breakfast and plenty of coffee!
During the course of our day, the Business Support team at Ambition regularly meet with Secretarial Managers and Team Leaders to discuss the current market, challenges, opportunities and what the future of Business Support looks like. We decided that a Business Support breakfast would be a fantastic opportunity for us to get our clients together to talk about success stories, lessons learned, share ideas and ask questions.
We discussed a range of topics relevant to the current market, including:
What Business Support structures are working, what isn’t working and what everyone has learnt?
There was some really valuable insight offered around change management. Some people around the table had led huge change management projects recently, some are in the midst of this and others are predicting this for the future, so this is something everyone in attendance was keen to discuss.
There were some really honest conversations about what has and hasn’t worked and what people would do differently in the future.
Business Support functions are constantly changing and evolving and will continue to do so. Employee engagement and expectations around career paths and progression are also a huge concern in times of change, as well as being able to win hearts and minds right from the outset.
The biggest standouts from the discussion on change management included; ensuring that existing processes are thoroughly reviewed before changes in structure are implemented, ensuring technology is fit for purpose to support change and the idea that perception is reality when it comes to how people feel about any form of change to structures or processes.
How is the role of the PA changing
The role of the PA is everchanging and it was discussed that a lot of the more ‘traditional’ skills sets for PAs/Secretaries are now a dying art, such as dictation. Fee earners continue to be more and more self-sufficient, particularly those who are newly qualified, so the role of the PA needs to constantly adapt in line with the changing demands from firms.
Firms are encouraging PAs to ‘add value’ - for example meeting with a client’s PA for coffee to build rapport; meeting with other Fee Earners or teams internally to increase knowledge and relationships, offering outstanding client service experience are all things being encouraged.
Bespoke training is being offered around soft skills as well as training around new technology.
What do Partners expect from Business Support functions?
Partners expect Business Support functions to offer more in the way of research, relationship building and for PAs to be mind-readers!
Partners want to see PAs attending client meetings, identifying points to take away from these meetings to action themselves and a higher level of client service and proactivity.
There were lots of conversations around interview styles. The fact that Secretarial/PA Managers are taking more and more responsibility for line management and performance reviews, something Partners had responsibility for previously.
We also discussed the challenges that a generationally diverse workforce presents.
We wanted the event to be relaxed, a chance for people to open up and ask for help and guidance as well as get to know each other, and this is exactly what was achieved!
The event was a huge success and we would like to thank everyone who joined us and participated in such interesting and positive discussions and also for the fantastic feedback and ideas on future events!