Celebrating Administrative Professionals’ Day

Administrative Professionals’ Day is a good opportunity to thank the people who provide you with administrative support.  Below are some factors to consider in celebrating the day:

  • Does your administrative assistant want public acknowledgement? In today’s world of professionalized skill, not all administrative staff like to be characterized as “administrative.” To them, it may hark back to the historical role of “Secretary” and minimize the increasingly sophisticated skills needed to administer today’s front and back offices. Be sensitive to how the person perceives their own role in deciding whether or not to celebrate.
  • Public or private recognition, or both? Some assistant would love the full embrace of the team in a public event; some would far prefer a quiet and sincere personal thank you, like lunch with you. Some would like – and even expect – both. Hopefully, you know your assistant well enough to know his or her preferences, but if you are not sure, best to ask to avoid embarrassment or discomfort.
  • One-to-one acknowledgment or full team participation? Consider how many people regularly interact with your administrative professional or assistant. A front office receptionist may interact with the full office – so giving everyone the chance to participate in a “thank you” may be appropriate and can help build a broader culture of appreciation.  On the other hand, it may be awkward to engage a full team in thanking a filing assistant that only few interact with. Administrative professionals have many roles – consider the role when planning the celebration.
  • Assess consistency across the organization. If there are many assistants in similar roles across the organization, consider calibrating with other managers to ensure a level of consistency in approach. If one department holds a lunch for its assistant, and another closely related department ignores the day with its assistant, it can lead to both embarrassment and resentment. Try to calibrate where appropriate, without detracting from the personalization of approach.

In today’s complex professional world, with evolving roles and diverse types of administrative jobs, Administrative Professionals’ Day can feel more complicated than it did in the past.  Considering both the person and the role will help you find the right path ahead.