Tips for Onboarding a Personal Assistant

Part 2 of 3
Begin as You Mean to Continue

Congratulations! You’ve hired a great new Personal Assistant, and it’s time to bring them on board.  Now is the time to define your expectations, set clear boundaries, and establish how you will communicate going forward.  These next steps will be invaluable if you follow one mantra: “Begin as you mean to continue.”

Define expectations

Decide what is most important for your assistant to accomplish, and identify these as Key Goals and Responsibilities.

Your PA needs to know they are expected to monitor, take action, and be prepared to provide up-to-date reports on these whenever requested by you

Provide a basic calendar of events, projects, and deadlines to be aware of. 

As both your gatekeeper and project manager, your PA will also need to know what small or large decisions they are authorized to make to move forward without bothering you with every detail. This may take time as you develop confidence in their judgment and performance.

Set Boundaries

Your Personal Assistant will have access to some private parts of your life.

Think early on about what you are comfortable sharing and where to draw the line. Will your assistant have access to your emails? Social media? Photos?  Your personal mail? Consider ways to keep some things separate and password protected.

Create strict protocols for your assistant’s access to financial information. 

Make it clear that you expect receipts and documentation and will carefully review credit card statements, contract payments, and all expenditures. As a rule, never authorize any check signing or other access to funds that are not approved directly by you.

Establish realistic communication methods

Especially in the beginning, when will you be available to answer questions, offer guidance, and help develop a communication style and rhythm that works for you?  For example:

  • Do you prefer to speak with each other, and if so, would you find it helpful to start each day with a 15 min morning meeting to prioritize goals for that day?
  • Do you prefer your PA to text questions, and are you able to provide clear expectations of when you will review and respond?
  • Do you want an email summary at day’s end, with a running list of projects that your PA can update?
  • Could you share a Google doc so that your PA can see your comments or instructions?


Once you have established these guidelines, you will have laid the groundwork for “beginning as you mean to continue” and given your new Personal Assistant a helpful roadmap to doing a great job!

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