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Making Administrative Professionals Week Meaningful

What quietly began as National Secretaries Week® in 1952 has transformed over the years into the more inclusive Administrative Professionals Week® to become one of the largest workplace observances around the world spanning nearly every industry.

To make the most of this important recognition opportunity, the International Association of Administrative Professionals recommends marking the occasion with meaning. "While gifts of candy and flowers are appreciated, surveys of administrative professionals have shown that they prefer professionally oriented observances," said Sandra P. Chandler, International President of the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the organization that created this yearly event.

Focus on Professionalism

Recognize the significant role your support staff plays in your organization's success or provide opportunities for professional learning and growth throughout Administrative Professionals Week with these helpful ideas.

• Hold a company-wide observance or special event for administrative staff. For maximum impact, couple a presentation by an educational speaker with group recognition from the chief executive. Consider closing the event by presenting each administrator with a small appreciation gift. A picture frame, pen holder or other desktop accessory featuring a motivational message is a fitting choice.

• Provide registration for a professional development seminar designed to build each individual's technical, interpersonal or business skills. To generate excitement around the program and reinforce your commitment to ongoing education, offer each registrant a padfolio for use at the seminar.

• Establish an on-site library stocked with relevant self-study materials. To keep current, be sure to include magazine's like the IAAP's OfficePro and other publications targeted specifically toward administrative professionals. For practical business knowledge and instant inspiration, Successories' Power of One series features an affordable selection of quick-read business handbooks that can help you fill your shelves quickly and effectively.

• Support membership in appropriate professional associations. Look for organizations that offer educational workshops addressing up-to-the-minute topics such as office technology trends, career development planning, effective communication and more.

• Encourage continuing education with the ultimate goal of professional certification. While tuition reimbursement is the optimal approach, simple verbal reinforcement of the importance of ongoing education is an important tool for empowering your staff to take ownership of their professional development.

• Commit to delegating responsibilities that better utilize the particular skills of each member of your support staff. By putting their individual talents to use, each person gains confidence while contributing more significantly to the success of the company. Keep instant recognition items like lapel pins and medallions on hand to offer on-the-spot appreciation of their contributions.

• Make sure the gifts you select have both professional and personal meaning. Office accessories such as engraved desk clocks, desktop nameplates and personalized business cards reinforce your support of their professional development and let them know you appreciate their unique talents and contributions.

Finally, don't forget that Administrative Professionals Week isn't the only time of year you should show your appreciation to your support staff. Be sure to offer a sincere "thank you" for every job well done and send them an encouraging business card with a personal note to acknowledge important milestones, special occasions and above-and-beyond efforts.

National Secretaries Week®, Administrative Professionals Week® and Administrative Professionals Day® are registered trademarks of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).