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How Do I Tell My Boss That I Need an Assistant?

by Stan Mack

When your workload is unreasonable, hiring an assistant often makes sense. But some employers hesitate to do so, perhaps because they doubt there is a need or don’t think hiring new people makes financial sense. The most effective way to convince your boss you need an assistant is to find out what her specific concerns are and then offer proof that hiring a new person is a worthwhile investment.

Waste Less Time

Ask for a private meeting and explain politely and objectively how hiring an assistant will help you focus on more valuable activities. For example, if your current workload includes easy but time-consuming tasks, show your boss how hiring an assistant will free you up to tackle more advanced work, which can lead to higher overall productivity. Be prepared to show actual numbers. For example, keep a work diary so you can demonstrate how many hours you lose in an average week doing simple tasks that an assistant could have handled. Explain how much advanced-level work you could have performed during that same period. Also, provide examples of how freeing you up for more important duties can lead to a better performance for the company.

Financial Reasons

Compare the cost of paying you to perform simple tasks vs. the cost of paying an assistant. If a simple task requires a few hours of your time, for example, hiring an assistant at a lower pay rate might make financial sense. Show your boss hard numbers to prove hiring an assistant would save money.

Offer to Train the Assistant

Your boss might be hesitant to take on a new employee due to the significant amount of effort it takes to bring new employees up to speed. To soothe those concerns, offer to train the assistant yourself, on your own time if necessary. Provide a detailed plan for how you would approach training, including a reasonable timeline for completion. Knowing that you are ready to handle the majority of the new assistant’s training might convince your boss to give your plan a shot.

Considerations

Don’t be disheartened if your boss initially denies your request. Once the seed is planted, your boss will have to consider your plan every time you can’t handle your workload. For instance, if a client swamps you with a huge request, preventing you from attending to other responsibilities, your boss will have to recognize that an assistant could have helped avoid the backlog. Make your request again when you have new evidence to back the worthiness of your plan. Perhaps your boss will be more amenable this time around.

Temporary Solution

If all else fails, ask if you can hire an assistant on a limited basis, perhaps as a part-time worker or only during peak periods of work. If the assistant proves valuable on a temporary basis, chances are your boss will strongly consider creating a permanent position.

About the Author

Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.

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