Administrative professionals are the unsung heroes of many organizations. They are core to the functioning of any local government, school district and the larger community; as such, it’s vital that as Administrative Professionals Day and Week approaches, this special occasion gets the attention it deserves.
Taking time to recognize a job well done is a cornerstone of creating a strong culture of good corporate governance within your organization. Its benefits are many — both to the individual and the organization.
This article highlights a holiday that deserves recognition across all our calendars to celebrate the dedicated professionals who work hard to hold our communities together each day.
Here’s everything organizations need to know to celebrate accordingly.
What Is Administrative Professionals Day?
Administrative Professionals Day is also known as Secretaries Day or Administrative Day. It’s an unofficial national holiday that coincides with National Secretaries Week (or Administrative Professionals Week). The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer proclaimed National Secretaries Week in 1952. June 4th was proclaimed to be National Secretaries Week in the same year. Today, Administrative Professionals Day is observed on the Wednesday of the last full week in April of every year.
Sawyer established the national holiday to honor the important work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists and other administrative support professionals, whose positions are valuable and often under-appreciated.
According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (an organization that was one of the original sponsors of Administrative Professionals Day), there are more than 22 million administrative professionals working in America.
Their job descriptions vary substantially from crafting meeting agendas to managing contracts, and it’s a position that often requires them to wear many different hats during the course of their workday.
Why Should Your Organization Celebrate Administrative Professionals Day?
Your organization may have several job titles that fall under administrative professionals. Secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, city clerks and other administrative support professionals all fall under the umbrella of administrative professionals, and they all deserve to be honored.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worthwhile to celebrate Administrative Professionals Week at your workplace, consider some of the reasons that make it a valuable idea. Stephen Covey, author of ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People,’ says that 39% of people feel underappreciated at work. He also notes that 65% of Americans didn’t receive any recognition in the last year of their employment.
Not only do the administrative professionals at your workplace deserve recognition, but strong recognition programs are proven to result in higher employee engagement, performance and overall job satisfaction.
For local governments, school boards and other community organizations, this positively impacts the bottom line by saving on the hidden costs of employee turnover. Additionally, recognition can reinforce the values that drive good corporate governance practices.
9 Specific Ways to Celebrate Administrative Professionals Day
If you’re ready to celebrate the administrative professionals at your organization, here are some suggestions for things you can do. Though recognition matters, so does representation. The National Secretaries Association sees Administrative Professionals Day and Week as an opportunity to give these valuable professionals a seat at the table, including a voice within the organization and commensurate pay and professional development.
These are nine ways organizations can celebrate their administrative professionals and further their representation across the company.
1. Simple Attention and Recognition
Remember that it’s not only what you do but the fact that you put out the effort to recognize them. Administrative professionals are usually willing to go the extra mile for their bosses — whether they role up to a manager or members of the executive committee — and they want you to notice the hard work that they do.
Just a simple thank you on this special day can go a long way. Why not surprise them with a screen saver wishing a Happy Administrative Professionals Day?
Take a moment to point out the things they do especially well or things you and others appreciate about them. Are they always in on time? Do they take time to clean things up around the office? Have they mastered writing meeting minutes? Show them they’re appreciated by asking them for suggestions for improvement and getting feedback on their workload.
2. Offer a Chance for Rest and Relaxation
To help your administrative staff feel as important as they are, consider giving them the gift of time with a paid day off, or at least a chance to log off early. Choose from relaxing gifts like aromatherapy, essential oils or a gift certificate to spend at their leisure.
3. Grant Them a Day of Virtual Development
For a win/win situation, grant your administrative professional a day of specialized training. Plenty of seminars and summits are now online; foot the cost for a workshop or seminar on a topic they want to learn more about.
Sign them up for the American Society of Administrative Professionals to open their world to networking with their peers. Involve the whole group in the Administrative Professionals Day celebration by asking a professional to lead some team-building exercises on a virtual platform.
4. Certificate of Recognition
Order a customized deluxe plaque to honor the occasion and the valuable work they do. Include an official recognition letter from the organization and an e-card signed by the other staff. These honorary items make nice tokens to display in the office and a nice keepsake too.
5. Treat them to Lunch
Treat them to lunch and let them choose the restaurant. This can be special since it’s an event they won’t have to plan. It can also be a great way for administrative professionals to connect and develop ideas to further their representation within the organization. Go ahead and give your administrative professional a little longer lunch period so they can fully enjoy the gesture.
6. Post an Announcement on your Company’s Intranet or Internet Page
Allow employees and others the chance to congratulate your administrative professional by posting an announcement on your intranet or internet page. Make it a public honor by adding their photo and details about how long they’ve worked there, something about their personal or family life, or note professional certifications. These are fabulous, no-cost ways to show your appreciation for a job well done.
7. Create A Special Social Media Post
With the popularity of social media outlets, consider putting an announcement on Facebook or Instagram celebrating Administrative Professionals Day. Write up a nice post on LinkedIn and give your administrative professional a mention.
If you’re investing in your environmental, social and governance (ESG) program, you’ll understand how this kind of affirmation isn’t just the right thing to do; it can also contribute to the bottom line.
8. Keep Gifts Thoughtful and Small
Gifts aren’t necessary for this occasion, but if you choose to do it, limit it to a small token of your appreciation. A fragrant candle, candy, flowers or a plant make lovely, inexpensive gifts. You can’t go wrong with donating to a charity of their choice or a gift certificate for a restaurant or local business. Themed gift baskets such as a selection of high-end coffees or chocolates also make excellent gifts.
9. Ensure Administrative Professionals Have the Tools to Succeed
Finally, consider whether your administrative professional has all the tools they need to do their job efficiently beyond Administrative Professionals Day and Week. Board portal software from Community by Diligent will make their job of meeting preparation, agenda and meeting management and communications faster and easier. It’s a win-win gift that benefits the entire organization.
Encouraging a Strong Culture In the Workplace — What’s Next?
Celebrating holidays like Administrative Professionals Day has a plethora of benefits. It increases job satisfaction, decreases turnover and may result in a workforce more committed to practicing good governance.
Implementing programs like this is a simple yet effective way to show administrative professionals — and the rest of your workforce — that their efforts are recognized and appreciated. It also serves as a reminder that everyone within the organization deserves a seat at the table.
Now that you’ve recognized Administrative Professionals Day, what are the next steps to create a positive culture within your organization and on your board? We explore this and more in our article on the subject, Good Governance: Creating Positive Board Culture in Challenging Times.