Samantha still has the note of thanks that accompanied the candy filled mug her firm gave as
a gift for Administrative Professionals Day three years ago. While the candy was gobbled up
immediately and the cup went missing some time ago, the handwritten note from the firm
administrator has been displayed at her workstation all this time.
"I guess it's the personal touch," said Samantha, "that means so much. It's nice to know that I am appreciated."
Because administrative staff members are being asked these days to do more with much less, it's
important to recognize the talent and skills they bring to your organization explicitly. Instead of
handing out T-shirts with the firm's logo or giving passes to the local movie theatre, think about
sending a more genuine message with lasting impact.
I asked a number of senior leaders how they plan to show staff that they are valued, and below
are some great ideas that won't break the bank:
- Hold a raffle with the prize being a paid day off
- Allow your administrative workers to wear jeans and sneakers one Friday
- Hold a cook-off for a prize for the best chili and supply the corn chips and
sour cream (or think bake-off: best pie, best brownies, best chocolate chip cookie)
- Have an ice cream social with firm big-wigs dishing out the ice cream while wearing aprons and funny hats
And the idea I like best,
If you're having a luncheon for staff members, have them enter the room one at a time, while the
people whom they support express their appreciation. Think about it – when was the last time you
got a round of applause or an enthusiastic "You go, girl" or "You're a rock star"? You can really go
over the top and have your managing director act as MC by announcing each person's name and perhaps
a little tagline, such as "Samantha Stevens, the fastest typist on the third floor," or "Jack Nelson,
our very own Sherlock Holmes of the off-site files." Embarrassing, for sure, but in a wonderful way.
None of this is worth ten shares of GM, however, if employees aren't treated with respect and
basic courtesy throughout the year. There's nothing more insulting than a manager acting like
Dr. Jekyll during the chili cook-off, only to revert back to Mr. Hyde when the party's over
(if this is you, I'm available for a free consult!).
Everyone wants to feel like they matter. Make an effort during Administrative Professionals
Week (April 19-25) to tell those in support roles exactly how they make your life easier. Take the
time to write this in a card or letter, giving an example or two. I promise this small gesture will
be valued well above any coffee mug, T-shirt or movie pass.
Neels & Company, Inc. - All Rights Reserved
the leading provider of soft skills training to professional services
firms, covering all areas of business communication.
Company, Inc. – Strategic Business Communication
P. O. Box 623, Boston, MA 02117
800-975-7031 ext. 701
general inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org