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Ask Abby, Marketing Maven

Firing a Long Term Admin is Not Easy. But Sometimes Necessary.



Dear Abby,


This is not so much a marketing question as it is a human resource question, but I thought you might be able to help.  I’ve had an administrative assistant for years.  I have recently asked her to take on more responsibility, like marketing initiatives, but she is reticent in doing so.  In fact, she has been reticent to do much the last few years and I’ve looked the other way because we have a long history together.  But, as my firm grows I really need to find someone who can handle more than she is handling now.  On the other hand, I am conflicted because I feel badly letting her go.  I am wondering if you have any guidance for me.




Reading, PA


Dear Jim,


First off, know that you are not alone in this scenario.  I know many advisors who are in similar situations.  They started their business with an admin that was good for what they needed at that time, but the organization grows and the needs change and suddenly that person is no longer the right person for the job. 


It is an emotional situation, but the decision should not be based on emotions. 


It should be based on finding the right person for the job.  I would suggest you start out by putting together a job description for an administrative assistant.  This will help you clarify what the specific responsibilities are that you need your admin to perform.  Be thorough and thoughtful as you put this together.  And then sit down with your admin and walk her through the job description.  If she agrees to perform the tasks, then you need to evaluate her on her performance of those responsibilities every six months. 


It will become apparent over a quick period of time whether or not this will work out.  It is not an easy task to evolve an employee, or fire an employee, but keep in mind you need to make the right decisions to properly run your business.


Good luck,

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