Describe factors which contribute to
the effectiveness of an organisation
Administrative Services Outcome 1
The Role of an Admin Assistant.
The Qualities of an Admin Assistant.
The Skills of an Admin Assistant.
The Admin Assistant
The role of the Admin Assistant is a very
There are many duties an Admin
Assistant is required to perform.
The main aim of an Admin Assistant’s
role is to provide SUPPORT to other
employees/Departments within the
In What Way Does an Admin Assistant
Creates Memos Creates
Manages the The ROLE of Arranges
Reception the Admin Business
area Assistant Travel
Responsible Responsible for
The Role of the Admin Assistant Explained
WORD PROCESSING TASKS
Creating letters – the Admin Assistant will be required to type letters for a variety of
reasons eg. Informing customers of a new product; responding to a customer complaint;
requesting new stock from a supplier.
Creating Memos - memos are often used to remind others of meetings or update fellow
workers on decisions. This is a very informal way of communicating with others within
Creating Reports – Admin Assistants could be asked to create a report which is a very
detailed, professional document. For example, if your school was requesting a new
building, then Senior Management would have to prepare a report detailing why the
school requires a new building, ideas for the new site, who the builder would be etc. A
Report is a very detailed document.
MANAGING THE RECEPTION AREA
There are many tasks the Admin Assistant would perform. For example:
Work on the switchboard – make sure all telephone calls are dealt with.
Ensure security measures are taken by providing all visitors with security passes.
Arrange appointments – use an electronic diary for accuracy.
Manage the visitor sign-in/sign-out book.
Deal with any enquiries – any questions that visitors may have.
The Role of the Admin Assistant Explained
MAKING TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS
The Admin Assistant is responsible for ensuring that the employee’s travel
arrangements are all correct and that the trip has been very carefully planned.
The following tasks are required to make sure that this happens:
Make sure that the dates of travel are correct.
This area will Find out exactly what the employee wants – method of travel; any special requirements
be covered in (vegetarian?); car rental? Etc.
greater detail Book appropriate travel – this could be car, train, plane or boat.
later on in
Book appropriate accommodation – Hotel or Bed and Breakfast?
Prepare an Itinerary – this is a document which clearly states the plan of the business
trip i.e times of travel; times of meetings and venues etc.
REPROGRAPHICS – PHOTOCOPYING, FAXING, LAMINATING ETC
The Admin Assistant is responsible for making copies of documents – this is known as
For example, if a letter arrives from a customer which needs to be read by 4 employees, then
the Admin Assistant will photocopy the letter and pass it on.
Another example is, if the Admin Assistant created a poster for a Department displaying new
Health & Safety rules, then he/she would print it off and make many copies for the work area.
The Role of the Admin Assistant - Summary
As you can see the Admin Assistant is required to carry out
a very wide range of tasks.
The tasks can be very routine (i.e the Assistant performs
these on a regular basis) or non-routine (i.e the Assistant
deals with the situation when it occurs).
Routine Tasks Non-Routine Tasks
• Filing documents • Dealing with a
• Answering the
telephone • Dealing with a
We are now going to consider what TYPE of person an Admin Assistant is by looking at the
qualities and skills which are needed to be a good Admin Assistant.
The QUALITIES of an Admin Assistant
There are many qualities an Admin Assistant
should have. For example:
PATIENCE – ability to listen at all times.
TACT – ability to make sure that a situation is dealt
with in an appropriate manner.
POLITE – ability to communicate well in all situations.
FRIENDLY – ability to welcome others.
The SKILLS of an Admin Assistant
There are many skills an Admin Assistant should have.
ICT – Ability to use a range of software packages: word
processing; spreadsheets; databases; desk-top publishing;
TEAM WORKING – ability to work with others.
ORGANISATION – ability to manage resources and ensure
that deadlines are met.
USE OWN INTITIAVE – ability to make your own decisions
and to solve problems without needing the help of a
supervisor or colleague.
Recruiting The Best Admin Assistant
In Admin Services Outcome 3 you will
learn in greater detail the role of the
Human Resources Department however
at this stage reference must be made to
the 2 documents which are used to
employ the best candidates for the job:
The Job Description.
The Person Specification.
The Job Description
The Job Description is used to show the following:
What the job involves.
The main duties of the post.
Who the employee will be reporting to.
Who the employee will be responsible for.
The employee’s salary.
The employee’s holiday entitlements.
The benefits the employee may receive eg company car.
The Person Specification
The Person Specification is used to show the following:
The skills that are required to carry out the job effectively.
The personal qualities that are required.
The skills required.
The skills and qualities are divided into 2 categories:
DESIRABLE – these factors enable the employee to have a
competitive advantage over other candidates.
It is important for an Admin Assistant to constantly monitor his/her
skills and identify any areas which need improvement.
This exercise is important because the Admin Assistant must
ensure that the job is being done properly and to a high standard.
There are two common methods used in today’s business
environment which are designed to enable employees to identify
their current skills and identify areas which need improvement:
A Skills Scan enables the employee to identify the following:
Level of knowledge and understanding.
The purpose of the Skills Scan therefore is to:
Identify any areas in which the employee’s skills need
Identify the employee’s current skills.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
The purpose of a SWOT analysis is
to identify the employee’s:
These are things These are things
the employee is good the employee needs
at. to work on to
These are things These are things
which could boost which may
the employee’s discourage the
In what way can we ensure that we communicate effectively with others?
How do we ensure that we get our message across?
We communicate in many ways, for example we:
Speak to one another.
Text messages on the mobile phone.
Body language (a very powerful method of communication!).
Good, effective communication is vital for the successful running of an
Consideration will now be given to the features of good communication.
Features of Effective Communication
In order to be effective, communication must feature the 5 Cs!:
It is important that the information communicated is very straightforward and not full of
The way in which the information is presented must be done in a very clear and easy
to understand manner.
Communication will always be received well if it is presented in a polite and courteous
manner. It is important to use a friendly and calm tone when communicating with
In order for communication to be of value, it must be accurate and true.
The communication must have all the information included otherwise the information
can easily become misunderstood.
The Value of Good Communication
In order to realise the true value of effective communication, the information
communicated must be:
If the information is false then this will mean that poor decisions will be based on
The information must be up-to-date at all times so that current issues are being
The information must be fit for the purpose and relate to what the organisation is using
The information must be used effectively in order to justify the costs associated with its
The information must be communicated using appropriate methods ensuring that it is
presented in a suitable format.
Barriers to Effective Communication
There are some barriers which prevent communication being effective:
The organisation has a TALL structure which means that there are many levels of
communication – lots of levels of management. This will result in information taking a long
time to filter through and may even result in the wrong information being communicated.
Too much information communicated at the one time can be very difficult for an individual to
understand and process.
The wrong choice of communication may be chosen.
If there is too much jargon used then the audience will switch off as they will not understand
what is being communicated.
The method of communication may be ineffective. For example, if using electronic methods
of communication there may be technical faults resulting in loss of data.
The information may not be accurate or concise therefore the audience will find it difficult to
Internal & External Communication
This method of This method of
communication will be more communication will be more
informal as the colleagues formal and structured.
know one another.
An organisation will use a
Communications will happen House Style when
in a less structured manner. communicating with
customers etc through letters
and e-mails. This system
Communications will be of a
means that it is easy for the
customer to identify who the
communication is from.
Examples of such
Examples of such
Memos. communications are:
Local Area Network. Reports.
Regular Meetings. Presentations.
Methods of Communication
There are 3 main methods of
Oral communication is information which is
verbally exchanged from one person to another.
Examples of when oral communication occur are:
Answering a query over the telephone.
Oral Communication –
Strengths and Weaknesses
Information is very easily There may be a conflict of
transmitted. personalities which could result in
the communication being very
Information is very quickly ineffective as conflicts could
passed on to others. arise.
If anyone has a question or There is no written record of the
comment then this can be given communication therefore it is
immediately. Feedback is very difficult to refer back to the
important as it confirms whether decision made.
or not the communication has
been effective. Distractions and interruptions can
devalue the information being
Body language is used to communicated.
reinforce the effectiveness of
communication – it is a very If there are large numbers of
powerful way of communicating people involved in the
through facial expressions and communication, then it can be
gestures. very difficult to control what is
Written communication is information which is presented in
writing and can be easily referred to.
Examples of when written communication occur are:
Written Communication –
Strengths and Weaknesses
The information can be referred Time is required to provide
back to at any time as a record of written information which is of
what was discussed is made. value.
This is very important if you need
to check what decisions were Feedback is not immediate and
made or who was given can often take a long time for the
responsibility for certain tasks. sender to gauge other’s
opinions/thoughts on what was
Information which is written communicated.
down is done so in a very concise
and meaningful manner – very Some individuals may find it
easy to understand exactly what difficult to understand written
is being communicated. information.
Individuals have more time to
read and study the information –
able to process it more
Visual communication is information which is presented in
an eye-catching way in order to grab the attention of its
Examples of when visual communications occur are:
Visual Communication –
Strengths and Weaknesses
The information is very eye- The costs associated with
catching and attracts the attention creating and presenting visual
of the audience. aids can be very high.
The information is presented in a Time is needed to prepare an
very clear and simple manner. effective presentation.
It is easier for the listener to If the communication relies
understand and take in the heavily on the use of ICT and
information which is being there is a technical fault, the
presented. communication will be delayed.
Effects of Poor Communication
To The Organisation To The Employee
Poor relationships with customers If the employee has
and suppliers will have a very misunderstood an instruction then
negative effect on the he/she will complete the task
organisation. The organisation’s incorrectly. This will lead to
reputation will suffer as people frustration and lack of confidence.
will begin to lose faith in the
organisation. Relationships may be damaged if
there is misinterpretation of
If there are poor communications communication.
between management and
employees there will be a lot of If there are many
disharmony which will result in communications in the workplace
lower productivity. this can be very stressful for the
employee and can lead to health
If employees feel that their voices problems.
are not being heard then low
morale amongst the staff will
Importance of Good Customer Service
To ensure effectiveness in the workplace, it is essential that customer needs are met
at all times.
The organisation must ensure that communications with customers are efficient and
effective at all times.
It is true to say that holding on to an existing customer is a lot easier than trying to
gain a new customer!
As a result of this the organisation must create a positive customer service making
sure that they are very responsive to the changing demands of their customers.
The organisation must be able to do the following in a professional and acceptable
Deal with customer enquiries.
Deal with customer complaints.
Offer an excellent after-sales service.
Create and maintain customer loyalty.
Reward customers and give them a sense of value.
The Mission Statement
In order to communicate to its customers why it exists and what it hopes to
achieve, an organisation creates a Mission Statement.
A Mission Statement communicates the overall goal of the organisation.
The purpose of a Mission Statement is to create an image of the
organisation and attract customers to being a part of it.
In order to be effective a Mission Statement must be concise and
For example, British Airway’s Mission Statement is:
“To be the world’s number one airline.”
This statement clearly states where the organisation are aiming for and
that it wants to be the best in the world!
Effects of Poor Customer Service
If the organisation loses its customers then it will very quickly fail!
The organisation needs its customers in order to be successful and grow.
There are many ways in which poor customer service can occur:
Ignoring customer feedback.
Not having a customer care policy.
Having a poor appearance – lack of cleanliness; disorganised.
Poor communications with customers.
Unqualified staff who are unable to help customers with their problems.
Ultimately, if the organisation gains a reputation for having poor customer service then
this will result in customers leaving to go to their competitors and the organisation will
find it very difficult to survive.
Customer Service - Legislation
The Admin Assistant will be responsible for dealing with a range of
customer enquiries and complaints.
It is essential therefore that the Admin Assistant is aware of the legislation
that is in place to ensure that customers’ rights are met and protected.
The Admin Assistant would have to know and understand the following
pieces of legislation:
The Trades Description Act 1968.
The Consumer Credit Act 1974.
The Sale of Goods Act 1979.
The Consumer Protection Act 1987.
The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000.
The Trades Description Act 1968
The Trades Description Act 1968 is designed to make sure
that organisations do not make false claims of descriptions
about a product or service they are selling.
For example, if they are selling mobile phones they can’t
pretend that it has Internet Services and a Radio if the
design clearly doesn’t enable the mobile phone to do this.
If organisations try and sell you something under a false
impression and you later discover that in fact this wasn’t the
product you wanted to buy, then you are entitled to have
your money back.
The Consumer Credit Act 1974
The Consumer Credit Act 1974 protects those consumers who buy
their goods on credit.
Buying goods on credit means that the customer receives the
product now and pays for it at a later date or over a specific period
This Act ensures that both the organisation and the customer have
a written document stating when the full payment must be made.
Customers will be charged interest for paying in this way however
they will also be aware of what competitors are charging so that
they can compare credit charges.
Customers do have the right to cancel their order – this is termed
the “cooling-off” period.
The Sale of Goods Act 1979
The Sale of Goods Act 1979 was created to ensure that the goods
a customer receives are of a high quality.
The Act clearly states that the goods must :
Be of a satisfactory standard of quality.
Be exactly as they are described – any advertising or manuals must
present an accurate account of the good.
Be fit for the purpose which means they must be able to perform all
the functions and features that the supplier says it can.
The Act is designed to protect the customer’s rights in that if the
product fails to meet any of the above, then the customer will be
able to demand their money back.
The Consumer Protection Act 1987
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is designed to
ensure that the prices of goods displayed in
shops, magazines, adverts etc are correct.
It is also designed to ensure that all goods are
supplied safely to the shop owner or retailer.
If suppliers knowingly provide goods which are
unsafe or do not meet the required health &
safety standards, then they can face prosecution.
The Consumer Protection
(Distance Selling) Regulations 2000
The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 is to protect
customers who have bought their goods without actually having face-to-
face contact with the seller.
The Information Technology revolution means that more and more people
are now buying on-line whereby goods can be purchased at the click of a
Customers can also buy from the TV, mail order or over the telephone.
In order to ensure that the customer’s rights are protected, if they purchase
goods in the ways described above, then they must:
Receive written confirmation of what was purchased, how many items were
purchased, and the exact price of the goods.
Receive a guaranteed full refund if the goods received are incorrect or of a poor
Be protected against credit card fraud.