Blog How executive assistants deliver value in the first week

How executive assistants deliver value in the first week

Aug 25, 2023

7 min read

Time is a precious commodity in fast-paced startups. Waiting months to recognize the benefits of working with an executive assistant is simply not an option. At Viva, we’ve mastered the art of getting to value quickly, making sure that our startup executives experience the advantages of their EAs within the first week. Let’s explore how we make this possible and why it matters to executives from Series A, B, and C companies across various industries.

Success in the startup world isn’t just about crossing tasks off a list; it’s about having a strategic partner who can navigate complexities, solve problems creatively, and ensure seamless operations. Our EAs embody these qualities, going above and beyond to support you across various aspects of your company. The promise of value in the first 7 days sets a new standard, and it all begins with the selection and onboarding process.

Reinventing timelines: a break from tradition

Breaking free from conventional timelines is essential in settings where time is of the essence. Our approach streamlines carefully curated recruitment and training, allowing you to access a pool of skilled EAs who are ready to start within 24 hours. This faster onboarding process means that you won’t find yourself waiting for months to experience benefits. It’s about establishing a new status quo and delivering results promptly.

The foundation for value in the first week is laid during onboarding. Understanding your preferences, patterns, and priorities ensures early success. Through personalized onboarding calls and forms, your executive assistant (and our Customer Success team) gains insights that drive proactive calendar and email management, along with operational tasks that can enhance your (and your team’s) productivity. This tailored approach ensures that your EA becomes an extension of your work style and personal preferences from day one.

First-week strategy: email, calendar, and travel planning

The first areas that stand out in terms of immediate value: email and calendar management and travel planning. Executive assistants should excel at these tasks. 

Effective email delegation, complete with careful folder management, ensures that you don’t miss out on valuable information while maintaining confidentiality.

Calendar management

An overlapping calendar is usually a sign of a cluttered and underproductive day. Color coding the calendar (a feature of calendar compartmentalization) is visually helpful to understand what your day looks like at a glance and to gain a clear perspective as to how priorities are being handled. An EA can help you get your calendar in order during this first week, going from chaotic to fully organized. Bear in mind that calendar planning and management go beyond color coding in a relevant and useful way to your specific workflows. It’s ultimately about creating a strategy to optimize your day and make it more productive in a way that resonates with your industry, your role, and your life.

Viva Calendar Compartmentalization, Executive Assistants

Email management

Email management is another area where executives experience significant value within just a week. Executives want to ensure they don’t miss out on any potentially valuable emails. A proactive EA can comprehend which folders are crucial for the executive’s workflow, identify key correspondents, and understand the email dynamics in play. For certain EAs, the practice of archiving every email ensures that no piece of information is lost, maintaining a comprehensive digital record.

Some executives struggle with email delegation the most, since messages have confidential information that they either don’t want to lose or don’t want anybody to access. We should always respect and prioritize the executive’s preferences, even if it means a longer onboarding process for email management. Our EAs have taken inboxes with 20,000 unread emails and created a system that reduces the inbox to just 10 daily. They’ve done this for multiple executives and usually within the first week. 

Travel planning

Another area where an EA provides value in the first week is travel planning. We’ve had executives who’ve decided not to delegate this task in the first few days and they’ve missed out on a great opportunity to maximize their investment and new business partnership with their EA. With proper delegation techniques, a travel planning-savvy EA is capable of taking this task off your to-do list. One of our EAs planned travel for their executive who was taking a 23-hour trip with young children. She went above and beyond. Besides planning for plane tickets, hotels, and restaurants, she also planned a list of activities for the children to do while on the flight, with recommended shopping lists. The executive didn’t ask for this, but the EA’s proactive attitude led her to go the extra mile without being prompted. 

In our experience onboarding startup executives, we’ve noticed that trust is the pillar of any successful partnership. We understand that, which is why our team closely and continuously monitors performance, especially during the first week. This collaborative approach ensures that expectations are met and value is sustained beyond the initial week.

Customers’ voices: the first seven days with a Viva EA

Executives from Series A, B, and C companies have shared feedback that affirms the impact EAs create within just seven days. From agenda planning to inbox decluttering and efficient travel planning, these one-liner testimonials reveal the multifaceted value that EAs provide in a short span of time.

Here’s what our executive customers have said about their EAs within the first week:

  • “Diligent and creative, takes charge of situations with initiative.”
  • “A big help with meetings and agendas, always on top of things.”
  • “Keeps things organized and learns quickly, even launching new programs.”
  • “Proactive, detail-oriented, and always on the ball.”
  • “Working with my two Viva EAs has been great, delivering substantial value.” 
  • “Always available and accommodating, down to help in every way.”
  • “Onboarding was smooth; she’s hardworking and open to feedback.”
  • “Gently guides me to better processes, adapting to my patterns.”
  • “My EA brought clarity and helped create dedicated time for specialized tasks on Wednesdays.”
  • “We already had a successful 1st week – the thing that I like already is that I feel I can trust my EA – If I give her something to get done then I don’t need to worry about it again – she already demonstrated that the things on her list get done.”

Advice to optimize time to value

At Viva, we’ve found our time to value <1 week, across industries and roles in startups. Here’s a screenshot of the latest users we brought on board the last few weeks and what they had to say.


Finding value in less than 1 week, Viva Executive Assistants

Successful partnerships thrive on trust, strong work ethics, and effective communication. When bringing in an EA, seek quick learners who display proactive problem-solving skills. These attributes, combined with a rigorous recruitment, training and onboarding process, ensure you find an EA who truly aligns with your needs and works hard alongside you.

Delegation and trust-building are the cornerstones of an effective executive-EA relationship. Some executives delegate their tasks to an EA after 6 months, while others dive in from the first week. Those who embrace early delegation tend to thrive.

Key attributes to look for in your EA include:

  • Quality work
  • Strong work ethic
  • Effective communication
  • Visibility
  • Availability
  • Proactive problem-solving 

Look for quick learners who are eager to prove themselves. To ensure trust, select an EA who demonstrates these traits through a well thought-out recruitment and onboarding process. Partner with a reliable third party that specializes in sourcing and nurturing world-class talent to guarantee your EA is someone you can count on.

Practical steps for executives who want to find value in <1 week

Empower your executive assistant from day one. Grant them access to your calendar and email, and let them handle your travel planning, as you see fit. Establish trust by questioning potential candidates during onboarding about how they would react in certain situations or how they would tackle tasks that are important to your role.

  • If it’s your first time working with an EA, delegate tasks early. During the onboarding process, prepare 3-5 key questions to assess their fit. Is attention to detail important to you and your business? Will your EA communicate a problem as soon as they notice it? Are they self-aware and open to feedback? Ask questions that will help you understand if this person is the right fit for you.
  • If you’ve worked previously with an EA, our recommendation is to make a list of 3-5 things you really liked about previous EAs and 3-5 things you wished they were better at. This will help your new hire understand your expectations better and provide value much faster.

Your new EA and Customer Success team will lead the onboarding process, so you don’t need to worry about anything. 

Adding value beyond the first week

There are a myriad of ways to provide value after Week One. These tasks usually require more time, but provide value continuously. One of our EAs, who has been supporting executives in a Series A biotech company, got certified HIP so they’d be able to support their executives with the screening of new information. The EA interacts with the Science, Clinical, and Compliance teams and has adapted well to the industry. She has consistently proven to be a proactive and trustworthy individual, providing value to the executive she supports. 

Seizing opportunities promptly can make all the difference in the fast-paced world of startups. At Viva, our commitment to delivering value within the first week underscores our dedication to your success, but it doesn’t end after the first week.

Through strategic onboarding, personalized ongoing support, and proactive problem-solving, our EAs ensure that you don’t have to wait to experience the benefits of having a trusted assistant by your side. By embracing early delegation and fostering trust, you set the stage for success. With our Customer Success team, constant training, and our feedback culture, you will find value starting from the first week and continue to do so throughout your business partnership.

First Week Timeline for Viva Executive Assistants

Why is the first week so important for seeing value? What happens specifically on days 1 through 7 that makes it crucial for an executive working with a new EA? Book a call to learn more about our proven method and how it can benefit you and your company.

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