The Administration department gives structure to all kinds of organizations, from financial institutions to law firms and hospitals. It’s every organization’s information center, database, and registry; it collects, stores, and distributes information, converting it into measurable, trackable, and easily retrievable data. This department also controls the organization’s budget and has the final word on all decisions, including policy making and procedure implementation.
The Administration field combines the expertise of various professionals working in areas such as Human Resources, Accounting, and Sales. All of these departments serve the same purpose; they ensure the organization is running smoothly. Hence, most Administration professionals manage or report directly to one of the aforementioned departments.
Administration professionals are usually divided into two groups: executives and their employees. Executives are also referred to as managerial positions, which are usually responsible for the following:
- Developing, implementing, monitoring, and reviewing tactical and operational plans, procedures, and systems, in compliance with the organization’s strategic goals, policies, procedures, budgets, and deadlines.
- Recruiting, training, mentoring, supervising, and disciplining administrative staff.
- Assigning tasks and establishing priorities.
- Overseeing budgets, office equipment maintenance, employee performance, and event management.
- Handling complaints and grievances, with the help of the Human Resources department.
On the other hand, most of their employees are usually in charge of the following:
- Handling all incoming and outgoing inquiries, forwarding calls and emails to the appropriate parties.
- Providing information to customers and employees, answering questions, and addressing complaints in a professional, tactful, and courteous manner.
- Collecting and classifying data and information, filing and organizing paper and electronic documents, and performing data entry and database maintenance, as required.
- Creating, reviewing, and distributing written communications, reports, presentations, and spreadsheets.
- Scheduling appointments and meetings, managing calendars when instructed to.
- Overseeing office equipment and maintaining supplies inventory.
- Planning and coordinating employee events such as team outings, celebrations, and charity fundraisers.
All professionals working in the Administration field usually share the same characteristics, which include, but are not limited to:
- Being great at multitasking and prioritizing. Easily and efficiently managing a high volume, diverse workload.
- Being able to learn and adapt quickly, while facing continuously changing demands.
- Being able to communicate clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to give detailed instructions, information, or assistance to employees and/or customers.
- Having a friendly and engaging personality in order to foster and maintain positive relationships.
- Displaying strong customer service skills, anticipating needs and handling requests in a proactive and efficient way.
- Having an optimistic, energetic, “can-do" attitude and being great at motivating themselves and others.
- Having a strong attention to detail and high levels of thoroughness in order to ensure standard specifications are met.
- Being able to skillfully gather, analyze, organize, and present information.
- Being extremely resourceful, responsive, and flexible; being able to identify issues and resolve problems in a timely manner.
- Being self-sufficient, able to work with minimum supervision using initiative and sound judgment.
- Having excellent administrative and computer skills, being highly proficient in computer word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications.
- Being discreet and trustworthy when handling confidential information.
In order to become an administrative executive, one must achieve a high level of education and acquire significant work experience. A master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) is the most popular choice for most executives, along with other diplomas in Administration, Business, or Accounting.
Most of the remaining Administration positions are entry-level jobs that require little to no education. The minimal educational requirement is usually a high school diploma. However, more and more employers now seek candidates who have completed post-secondary courses or have earned a higher academic degree, such as a college or university degree in Accounting, Administration, Business, or Secretarial Studies. Moreover, any higher level of education is often recognized as experience and will eventually allow candidates to apply for higher positions.
Almost all organizations and institutions have administrative and clerical duties that need to be taken care of. Hence, Administration professionals work in a broad variety of industries, meaning they may choose or need to pursue additional degrees and courses in order to get specialized in one or more of the following fields: Finance, Accounting, Economics, Marketing, Operations Management, Events Management, Facilities Management, Tourism Management, Hotel Management, Catering Management, Hospitality Services, Secretarial Studies, Law, Healthcare, Education, Engineering, Information Technology, Telecommunications, and/or Modern Languages.
All Administration employees interacting with the public should pay great attention to how they come across. It is crucial for them to have outstanding customer service skills, as well as to remain polite at all times, continuously smiling and conveying a warm and positive attitude.
Contrary to popular belief, not all Administration professionals work on a 9-to-5 basis. Some of them are often required to take additional responsibilities and are expected to work irregular and extra hours to complete tasks and meet deadlines. Fortunately, overtime is not always the norm, since work schedules usually vary from one company to another.