Going a Step Beyond on Administrative Professionals Day

By Robert Half February 23, 2018 at 8:00am

Before there was Administrative Professionals Day, there was National Secretaries Day. We’ve come a long way since then.

Since it was established in 1952, the celebration has gone through at least a couple of makeovers to reflect changing job titles and responsibilities in the modern economy. While its moniker has changed, the purpose of Administrative Professionals Day has remained the same: to “celebrate and shed light on administrative professionals’ devoted, valued work.”

Have admins in your office you’d like to honor? Every year, Administrative Professionals Day falls on the Wednesday of the last full week of April. Mark these dates on your calendar:

  • 2018: April 25
  • 2019: April 24
  • 2020: April 22

In some offices, the entire last week of April is devoted to celebrating the office’s treasured administrative staff. Considering the amount of work they do, it’s no wonder.

The real MVPs

According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals, one of the original sponsors of Administrative Professionals Day, there are more than 22 million admin professionals in the United States. Their roles are incredibly diverse — and often, these professionals go above and beyond their regular duties. In an OfficeTeam survey, employers said they have witnessed admins doing everything from bill collection and vetting job applicants to cleaning up after the office was hit by a hurricane.

Duties like these may be extraordinary, but the everyday administrative tasks are just as vital. Thanks to the support they give, administrative professionals provide real benefits to the people they support and the organization at large. In a separate OfficeTeam survey, 100 percent of executives said their assistant is important to their success. According to the survey, administrative assistants free up an average of 101 minutes each day for their managers. (See more OfficeTeam survey results in the infographic below.)

Ways to show your appreciation

If you’re looking for ways to honor your support staff, going the traditional route — an office celebration, lunch in a restaurant or even flowers — is a solid choice. But if you’re searching for a more unique thank-you, try one of these ideas:

  • Professional development — Offer reimbursement for professional conferences, organization memberships or courses. Administrative professionals are eager to learn and expand their skill set, and they need to stay abreast of the latest technologies and best practices. When you encourage employees to grow in their careers, the result benefits the entire team.
  • Some extra cash — Money is always a welcome surprise. Consider providing a spot bonus or a salary increase. Monetary rewards are the form of recognition employees value the most.
  • A kind word — A simple thank-you can go a long way. But don’t only say it and leave it at that. Let your admins know how their work has helped you or the department. Share praise from happy clients, celebrate achievements and recognize your staff publicly — in front of peers. An even nicer touch is a verbal commendation followed by a handwritten note. Administrative professionals can display such a card or note on their desk, reminding them of how much they are appreciated.
  • Rest and relaxation — Administrative professionals work hard, and it can be difficult to find personal time to unwind. Give them some extra vacation days to recharge or spend time doing things they enjoy. If vacation time isn’t feasible, consider a gift card to a local spa or their favorite restaurant or tickets to a cultural or sporting event.
  • New opportunities — Show your admins that you’re invested in their future by periodically offering professional challenges and opportunities. If they are interested, ask them to oversee a project or encourage them to consider joining a mentorship program. A gesture like this will show that you value a staff member’s work and contributions and have confidence in their skills and abilities.

Hard-working administrative professionals will likely appreciate any act of gratitude, no matter how big or small it might be. Even if you’re working with a small budget, you can make an admin’s day.

Are you trying to express your deep appreciation for the administrative professionals in your workplace? Download the our tip sheet, 20 Easy Recognition Tips to Help Employees Work Happy, for ways to best show your staff the gratitude and recognition they deserve.

Infographic about today's administrative professional.

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