The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) spearheads an official day in honor of the work of all administrative professionals such as secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and client services representatives.
Experienced administrative professionals are the backbone of any office. This cohort includes a variety of business specializations, including project management, scheduling, managing office spaces, making travel arrangements, writing correspondence, and handling calls and messages.
Originally deemed 'Secretaries' Day' in 1952, Administrative Professionals' Day is now observed each year and falls within Administrative Professionals' Week, the last full week of April in the U.S.
Administrative Professionals' Day
The purpose of Administrative Professionals' Day is to acknowledge those indispensable people who keep offices running, doing all the things that need to be done so business owners can focus on growing their businesses. In addition to being the "Swiss Army Knife" of the office, a good administrative professional must be able to communicate well and effectively deal with a variety of personalities. Giving gifts on Administrative Professionals' Day demonstrates that you recognize and appreciate how hard they work.
According to a 2018 survey of over 7,000 IAAP members, as well as some 23,000 nonmembers, administrative assistants of all kinds reported being asked to support more people than ever before, with almost 59% being asked to support 3 or more managers or executives. Alarmingly, 18.39% of 2018 respondents reported supporting more than 11 people at one time, an increase of 12% from 2015. But even though administrative assistants are reporting longer hours and more work, the 2018 survey also found that over 81% of respondents feel that the contribution they made to their organization has increased over the last five years.
Administrative Professionals' Day Gifts
Traditionally, business leadership has used this day to show their appreciation for their assistants and all the hard work throughout the year.
Here are some of the ideas that were provided by administrative professionals:
- A gift basket full of edible treats
- Offer a nice, long lunch at a local fine restaurant
- Provide a morning or afternoon at a local spa
- Give a gift certificate for dinner (for two) or a night at a hotel
- Arrange for a housekeeper for the day
- Book and pay to have the car tuned-up and detailed
- Present a plaque for her/his years of valued work
- Provide a family pass to the movies or a show (with popcorn money)
- Arrange for housekeeping, landscaping, drycleaning, or grocery-delivery services on their behalf
- Offer the day off
Each business relationship is different. Make sure to speak with your assistants first and get a sense of what would be an appropriate gift.
Giving More Than a Gift
The best gift will show your thoughtfulness and expresses your knowledge of the recipient's likes and preferences. A plaque with your administrative professional's name inscribed on it is only a good gift if he or she appreciates that kind of recognition.
In addition to gifts, the IAAP asks that we remember that the administrative profession is an important part of doing business and should be treated as such:
"This day was started by IAAP in 1952 to provide administrative professionals a collective voice. The administrative profession deserves a seat at the table of business as a partner, not minute-taker. Admins should not expect to be recognized during this week and day, but instead should use this time to speak up and ask for the things they need to be successful—like commensurate pay and professional development opportunities."
Of course, Administrative Professionals' Day isn’t the only date on the calendar business leaders should show their appreciation, but it is one worth remembering.