Let's face it: You probably wouldn't be nearly as organized, on the ball or, frankly, successful if it weren't for the hardworking administrative professionals on your team.
If that's true for you, take a moment to think about the last time you thanked your admins for a job well done. If you bought lunch or brought in a gift for Administrative Professionals Day, that's great. But it's also important to let them know how meaningful their work is year-round, whether you're their manager or their coworker.
After all, our research found that feeling appreciated is the second most important workplace happiness factor in all of North America.
If you struggle with finding the time or the words to express your appreciation, the following tips can help you retain administrative professionals who have a personal commitment to the job.
Do's and don'ts
Before you start heaping on the praise, consider these do's and don'ts:
- DO make sure you’re sincere and you relate your praise to a specific achievement or task.
- DO tailor your praise to the employee. Some people like public shows of appreciation while others like to be recognized privately. You may be able to judge from their personality how a particular person likes to be recognized.
- DO make your praise timely. If you appreciate something your administrative professional did, offer a simple thank you in the moment. You don't have to save praise for review time or a meeting.
- DO give a meaningful gift for going above and beyond. An unthoughtful gift could be worse than giving no gift at all.
- DO be direct. If you take the show, don't tell approach, the person might not really get the message.
- DON'T overdo your praise. It might come across as forced or even insincere.
- DON'T be too general. People appreciate hearing not only that they did a good job, but also what you liked about how they did it or what impact it had.
Reasons to praise your office admin
While your praise should be genuine and tailored to your own staff or coworkers, here are some ideas about what to say when thanking your executive assistant or other support personnel:
- "Thanks for keeping all my travel straight so I end up in the right city at the right time."
- "Thanks for keeping my files so organized. Because of you, I wasn’t fumbling to find what I needed for that last-minute meeting this time!"
- "Thanks for reminding me it was Kathy's birthday so I didn't forget and look like a jerk!"
- "Thanks for having everything set up for the big meeting. Your preparation made everything run smoothly — and helped us wrap up in time for happy hour."
- "That presentation you created/gave really rocked. Thanks for the extra time and effort you put into it. You wowed both me and a hard-to-please client."
- "I notice how friendly and helpful you are when communicating one-on-one. Thanks for helping clients feel like they really matter to us and people in other work groups see our department as approachable."
Our Office of the Future research describes how the work administrative professionals do is evolving. As their day-to-day roles become more demanding and complex, they need to see your gratitude even more. You might be surprised how much a simple thank-you can help a coworker realize you care about them and the work they do.
Listen to our recent webinar on how emotional intelligence can help you in your career, and get advice for improving your skills in this area.