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.
With that in mind, take a moment to think about the last time you recognized them with some staff appreciation. Administrative Professionals Day and Administrative Professionals Week are great reminders that you may need to single out the people who support you. But with many teams now working remotely, how do you let your assistants and office managers know how meaningful their work is and how much you value them?
4 ideas to show staff appreciation
Here are some tips that can help you incorporate staff appreciation into your activities so the members of your administrative team receive well-deserved kudos, whether it’s for one day or throughout the year.
1. Give out company awards — Many managers praise their administrative staff during a meeting or other public forum. With many teams working remotely, one idea is to nominate individuals for internal accolades such as employee of the month. Email a special certificate that the winners can print out and display. Sending an email praising their accomplishments and cc’ing members of the entire team will make the award feel special.
2. Show appreciation with gifts — Many managers thank their administrative staff with flowers, a gift card or a handwritten thank-you note. Other ideas to show staff appreciation include a delivery of chocolate or other sweet treats, a gift basket and a business book or title by the administrative staff member’s favorite author.
3. Encourage professional development — Administrative professionals value training opportunities. So, when it comes to staff appreciation, give them what they want. Arrange for a complimentary membership in an industry association. Schedule an online training session or webinar customized to the group’s needs and interests. This has the dual benefit of rewarding administrative staff for a job well done and helping them strengthen abilities that can benefit the organization.
4. Offer employee perks — Everyone appreciates tangible awards. But that doesn’t mean your staff appreciation efforts have to break the bank to make an impact. Rewards such as providing the option to log off of work early one day or extra vacation time would be appreciated.
Do’s and don’ts when expressing gratitude
Before you start heaping on the praise on Administrative Professionals Day, consider these suggestions, especially if you struggle with finding the time or the words to express your appreciation:
- 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.
Words of praise for your administrative staff
While your accolades should be genuine and tailored to your staff, here are some ideas about what to say when thanking your assistant or other support personnel:
- "Thanks for keeping our department’s files so organized. Because of you, I wasn’t fumbling to find what I needed for that last-minute conference call this time!"
- "Thanks for reminding me it was Kathy's birthday so I didn't forget!"
- "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 making people in other work groups view our department as approachable."
When it’s done right, employee appreciation can provide greater motivation, increase employee engagement, reinforce positive behaviour and lower stress levels by allowing your support staff to focus on positive actions and behaviours. All that translates to better customer service and increased efficiency on the job.
As the day-to-day roles of administrative professionals have 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.
Need other ideas to offer recognition and stay connected with your virtual team? Read 20 Tips to Recognize Your Employees While Working Remotely.