Go­ing be­yond the call of duty – 20

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THE days of of­fice re­cep­tion­ists and ad­min­is­tra­tors stick­ing to tasks out­lined in their job de­scrip­tions ap­pear to be over, as more em­ploy­ers de­mand they do work above and be­yond tra­di­tional du­ties.

While em­ploy­ers may ask ad­min­is­tra­tive staff to per­form ad­di­tional tasks, some em­ploy­ees be­come more in­volved them­selves. For ex­am­ple, some re­cep­tion­ists as­sist with mar­ket­ing and pub­lic re­la­tions

Re­cruit­ment firm Hays says em­ploy­ers are show­ing a pref­er­ence for multi-skilled of­fice sup­port staff.

Hays di­rec­tor Nick Deli­gian­nis says em­ploy­ers want highly-skilled can­di­dates who can man­age mul­ti­ple re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

‘‘They want to gain max­i­mum value from their hire and they ex­pect new staff to be able to add value at a faster and more sig­nif­i­cant rate than be­fore the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis,’’ he says.

‘‘ Some em­ploy­ers have also merged roles, which also cre­ates a need for can­di­dates with all-round skill sets. For ex­am­ple, an em­ployer might ask for a can­di­date that, in ad­di­tion to the pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity, can as­sist with re­cep­tion, ad­min­is­tra­tion or ju­nior ac­counts pro­ce­dures if and when re­quired.’’

Mr Delin­gian­nis says this trend has been no­ticed in some ar­eas of ac­coun­tancy and sales and mar­ket­ing. ‘‘In or­der to se­cure (a ver­sa­tile) can­di­date, em­ploy­ers are pro­vid­ing ben­e­fits such as flex­i­ble work­ing hours,’’ he says.

‘‘Some even of­fer a key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tor bonus for those can­di­dates that do go above and be­yond.’’

The im­por­tance of em­ploy­ing staff with tal­ents in var­i­ous ar­eas has be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant as many sec­tors strug­gle with skills short­ages.

An Aus­tralian In­dus­try Group/ Deloitte CEO sur­vey, re­leased ear­lier this month, found more than one third of busi­nesses were concerned that skills short­ages would im­pact neg­a­tively on their op­er­a­tions this year.

Deloitte Con­sult­ing Asia Pa­cific re­gional man­ag­ing part­ner Ger­hard Vorster says stand­ing still is not an op­tion for em­ploy­ers.

‘‘The good news is that Aus­tralia’s ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing providers are keen to col­lab­o­rate with busi­ness to help se­cure a pipe­line of skilled tal­ent,’’ he says.

‘‘Those who fail to in­no­vate around pro­cesses, sys­tems and work­ing prac­tices are go­ing to face a very bleak fu­ture.’’

Kelly Ser­vices ad­min­is­tra­tor Kim Shields has spent 19 years with the com­pany and says she has al­ways been en­cour­aged to do tasks be­yond her job de­scrip­tion.

‘‘I’ve al­ways loved the role be­cause there have al­ways been new chal­lenges,’’ she says.

‘‘I do a lot of ad­min­is­tra­tion, ref­er­ence check­ing and I look af­ter the data­base. I have been of­fered con­sul­tancy po­si­tions but I amvery happy with my role.’’

Ms Shields says the team-fo­cused en­vi­ron­ment at Kelly makes it easy to get in­volved in many dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

‘‘If you can broaden your hori­zons, it makes it much more in­ter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing,’’ she says.

‘‘From my ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated if you put your hand up and say you are will­ing to do more.’’

In an Aus­tralian Work­place Se­ries study, Hays found that 41 per cent of em­ploy­ees re­ceive no train­ing and devel­op­ment.

Hays di­rec­tor Jacky Carter says it is im­per­a­tive to in­vest in train­ing and devel­op­ment.

Pic­ture: Greg Higgs

Kelly Ser­vices ad­min­is­tra­tor Kim Shields en­joys the chal­lenge of per­form­ing tasks be­yond her job de­scrip­tion.

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