The decision to employ a personal assistant should not be taken lightly as it does involve a fair amount of work, some of which you can get assistance with. In employing a PA, you become their legal employer with the same rights and responsibility as if you were the Chief Executive of a large business.
The activities involved in employing personal assistants can be divided at this stage into 3 main areas of activity. The first of these is the recruitment of personal assistants. This is an area you can get various assistance with, although you will still need to be involved. Finding the right PA can be seen as a dating game more than anything else. It is very important that you get on with who you employ because of the personal nature of the job. The recruitment process involves establishing what you want from a PA, advertising, interviewing, selecting and finally offering someone the job.
The second area of activity is the paperwork. This seems to frighten many people but it is the area of activity you can choose to do yourself, or ask someone else to do for you, or a bit of both. The paperwork is what keeps you legal and includes issuing contracts, working out pay and tax, and a whole range of other stuff. The paperwork puts your relationship on a good stead and protects you if something goes wrong.
The third area of activity is the interpersonal skills you need to manage your PA on a day to day basis. This is the bit other guides leave out and it is something you need to learn to do yourself to become a good and effective employer. This area includes the induction process, how to praise and reward, informal and formal discipline, how to manage grievances and lots more. While the recruitment process and paperwork is pretty standard for anyone, everyone will have their own style of managing their PAs, according to their circumstances, and so it will take trial and error, maybe a lot of trial and error, to find a style they works for you.
While the recruitment process and paperwork can be easy to set up, it is the day to day management of PAs that will determine success or failure in terms of meeting your own outcomes. The benefits of having a good PA package can be enormous but it can take a lot of work to achieve and maintain. If you want someone to just ‘look after’ you a few hours a week with less hassle, then it may be more appropriate to use a care agency. If however, you feel the need to take full control of the care and support you receive in a day to day basis, then employing a PA maybe for you.
NB: This is the second article in the Understand Assistance series of articles exploring every aspect of employing personal assistants week by week.
What is a PA?