Administrative professionals play huge roles in a lot of organizations yet their value is little understood, according to IAAP’s Leading Administrative Professionals 2013 Benching Marking Survey.
In most offices there are only a handful of tasks that don’t touch administrative professionals in some way shape or form and some of those tasks play a key role on their company’s bottom line.
For example, About two-thirds of the survey’s respondents noted they make and/or recommend purchasing decisions for their employers, the decisions are worth on average approximately $20,000 a year.
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Mark your calendar. April 27 is Administrative Professionals Day. The day was created in 1952 to encourage more women to become secretaries and recognize the value and importance of the role, according to Holiday Insights.
A former college classmate of mine, administrative assistant Dyana Galis-Menendez said, “There is a tendency to feel extremely unappreciated as an assistant by others.”
She added that at times, others have treated people in her role like they’re nothing but a hurdle to get to the "important" person. But, they’re the ones doing a bulk of the work and keeping the office running.
Receiving a gift on Administrative Professionals Day is a good reminder of why she and others in her position work at the company they do "especially when others can try to make people in the position feel less important," she added.
Celebrate by showing your administrative professionals how thankful you are for everything they do. Here are some ideas.
The Food Route
Have breakfast waiting for them when they walk into the office in the morning. If your company is trying to cut back on expenses, a nice basket of bagels, muffins, juices, and fruit is enough. If you have the funds for it, a catered breakfast could make the ultimate impression; bacon, pancakes, French toast, eggs, you name it.
Take them out to a restaurant of their choice and don’t look at the clock. Offer an extended lunch in which they can sit back and enjoy being treated.
The Object Route
I spoke with a few administrative professionals and they all agreed that next to being taken out to lunch, getting flowers on Administrative Professionals Day has been one of the most common gestures made by their employers. Change it up. Combine the gift of flowers and food with an Edible Arrangement . I’ve used the company many times and their gifts have always been appreciated. Edible Arrangements offers a wide selection of fruits for different budgets and orders can easily be placed online or by phone.
Money and Gift Cards
If you prefer to give a more tangible gift, you can’t go wrong with handing out cold hard cash. However, I’ve always felt that was the lazy route and it’s never personal. An alternative is the gift of gift cards. Dining gift cards or generic prepaid cards are going to be your best bets. To save time, purchase the gift cards online using a company like Corporate Prepaid Gift Cards, which offers VISA, MasterCard, and eftpo cards.
Dyana said it was one her favorite Administrative Professionals Day gifts - “A book of inspirational quotes. It definitely isn't an expectation, but definitely appreciated!”
The Gift of Education
This tends to be the less traditional route but is a good way to show your administrative professionals that their personal and professional development is important to you. The 24th Annual Administrative Professionals Conference is coming up in September. Sending them with personal spending cash or prepaid gift cards makes a statement.
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Other continuing education options include gifting your administrative professionals with the option to:
- Take a course at their local community college.
- Take a seminar that’s being held by their chamber of commerce.
- Participate in a virtual conference.
It has been noted, “Two-thirds of administrative professional get 10 or fewer hours of professional development training, whether provided in-house or by vendors.” Nearly one in five receive no professional development, as noted by the IAAP, which feels “10 hours of training is simply too little to be adequate for an administrative professional in the contemporary office.”
Has your administrative professional always wanted to try something new like yoga or painting? Have them choose something that helps them develop personally and let them soar with it. If they don’t have time to take the class when they are not at work, give them a pass to leave work for a few hours to do so.
Surprise Half Day or Full
We tend to spend more time working and sleeping than doing anything else and who couldn’t use a day off? Say thanks with time off by letting your administrative professionals leave early for the day or have a three-day weekend.
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The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Is your administrative professional active in their church or passionate about a particular charity? Make a donation in their name. Or, perhaps you know of a cause they are passionate about but not the exact charity? Check out The Gift of Giving, for help choosing a cause and charity.