Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Listen to Your Admins

Today is “Administrative Professionals Day” where all across North America, secretaries, admins, and receptionists are recognized for their support. The day of appreciation began in 1952 to not only honor secretaries but to attract women to the profession, at that time one of the few professions women were encouraged to pursue. My mother worked all her life as an administrative professional, finally retiring at age 72. 

How are you showing your appreciation for your administrative staff today? The most common ways are to give flowers, cards, gift certificates, gift baskets, candy or to take them to lunch. The International Association of Administrative Professionals suggests honoring your admins by offering them continuing education, seminars or self-study materials.

Any form of recognition is usually appreciated as long as it is heartfelt and not just an empty gesture that people feel they are obligated to do or they will look bad. But do you know what would really delight your administrative professional and make them feel truly appreciated?

If you do, you may be unique. Most bosses will just automatically get some flowers or one of the items listed “most common” above, and congratulate themselves for remembering. But if you truly want your admin to feel special, find out what would REALLY make them happy. Keep it simple and inexpensive, but make it thoughtful.

What are their hobbies? What do they really love to do? If you give them flowers, what’s their favorite flower? Could you surprise them with a book by their favorite author? Some time off with their family? Your personal attention in selecting the gift can be as valuable as the gift itself.

If you don’t know the recipient’s personal tastes and interests, ask them. In truth, the most appreciated gift is that of you listening, and then acting on what you have heard. Employees in general – actually people in general – don’t feel that they are really listened to. Ask questions, listen well to the answers, and act on what you hear. That can be an ongoing gift of appreciation for all your employees, whether they have their own “Day” or not.

My mother, the lifelong administrative professional, received many gifts of appreciation throughout her career. But the one she most remembers? A handwritten note that detailed the qualities and strengths her boss appreciated about her. It was very personal, and showed that her boss was a thoughtful, insightful observer. And it wasn’t even Secretaries’ Day.

No comments:

Post a Comment