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Question
The PAs in our company speak to us (the reception team) in quite a rude and often derogatory manner. A typical situation will be – the PA has forgotten to ask us to reserve a meeting room for their boss. So that they don’t get in trouble, they loudly blame/shout at us on the phone, saying they had asked us and that it’s our fault.  Interestingly it’s not the senior EAs that are like this, it’s usually the junior PAs believe they are superior to us.  I have told the reception manager, however he says this is just the firm’s culture and he’s found it difficult to get them to change their behaviour

Answer
Then the firm needs to lose this demeaning and demoralising culture. These things tend to build up over a number of years. The PAs need to know what a difficult job you do. One way (which some firms adopt) is to have a regular opportunity for the PAs to meet the receptionists in a less formal environment. If the only contact with each other has been over the phone – with THEM and US on different floors – then its easier to be disrespectful. It’s a lot harder to be rude to close colleagues and friends – than strangers.

If it carries on – I would ask for a meeting with manager and the rest of the reception team, along with someone from HR (preferably) or at least someone there making notes.  If you let HR know that there seems to be an inherent culture of blaming the reception team and shouting, then your HR manager should come up with a way of getting the PAs onside. Maybe an induction course for new starters – to set out what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Maybe even a day once every couple of months where a PA gets to shadow the reception team (seeing the daily struggles corporate receptionists deal with – there is a good chance our rogue PA wont be smiling by lunch time)