Should I fire my PA?
So, you are in a situation where your PA has done something to really irritate you – or maybe this is not the first time. Here are a few useful tips on where to go from here:
Am I overreacting?
It is hard to be objective when you are in this situation. We all know it is not great to react in the moment so take some time to calm down and read the following points before deciding to show your PA the door.
Is this the first mistake the PA has made?
Or has there been a catalogue of errors. The whole point of having a PA is to make your life run smoothly – they should not be an additional source of aggravation. Start keeping a log of all the areas you are not happy with and communicate in the moment where possible so irritation has no opportunity to fester.
Are you sharing your PA?
Talk to whomever you share your PA with – they may think that you think the PA is great and don’t want to overstep the mark. Don’t assume – be honest about what is happening.
Personality fit is right but skills are poor?
The hardest part of any PA recruitment is getting the personality fit right. If they have the right attitude and mind-set, send them on a course to bring their skills up to date. You will reap the benefits in the long term and they will appreciate the investment in their skills. If they lack PA experience, is there a more senior PA within the business who could mentor them?
What is the impact to on business?
It is super important to analyse what effect this individual is having on your business. The job of a PA is to think ahead, be proactive and make your life easier. If this is not happening, you will need to address the situation. However, think about the costs involved of letting someone go, not only in terms of engaging a recruitment consultancy but also the time it takes to interview, hire and train a new employee. On the flip side, negative energy in your business has a ripple effect across the team so best to nip it in the bud.
Did the PA come through a Recruitment Consultancy?
If they did, get the recruitment company involved. They should be doing their regular checks which should continue way after the probation period has expired. If the problems are arising during their probation period, the recruiter should be having a dialogue with the candidate and it is sometimes easier to go through an intermediary during those early months. Don’t stick your head in the sand – communicate with the recruitment consultancy. Their main priority is to ensure you are happy with your new recruit and if not, minimise the disruption to your business.
Meet with your PA
Do this at the earliest opportunity. PAs will make more mistakes when you don’t trust their work and you will just end up in a vicious circle. 9 times out of 10 your PA will want to do a good job for you and would appreciate the opportunity to put it right. Be honest about their shortcomings and give examples. Set the expectation level of how you would like things to work so there can be no ambiguity going forward.
How long have they worked for you?
Check out where you stand legally with regards to terminating someone’s employment. Are they still in their probation period or do they have many years’ of employment with the business.
Is it worth a second chance?
Should you give someone a second, third or fourth chance, or should you cut and run? Best advice is to be measured and treat your PA as you would like to be treated yourself. Meet with them, outline your thoughts, give them an opportunity to voice their views. Important to wipe the slate clean if you decide to give them a second chance – no point waiting and willing for them to make a mistake. Be kinder to let them go in that case.
PA and boss relationships are tricky to get right. It takes time to build up trust and it is very much a two-way process. What you put into the relationships is very much what you will get out of it.
Written by Kirsty Miall
2017 – 15 Fabulous Years for Attic!
Attic are great people to work with, they were very sensitive to our needs and able to find exactly the right person for our team now, and for our future ambitions. I recommend them to any ‘creative business’ and for anyone who needs intelligent and talented staff.