Managers and Support Staff Not in Sync on Top Rewards, Survey Shows

MENLO PARK, CA -- Many managers underestimate the power of a pat on the back, new research suggests. While supervisors surveyed rated job promotions and cash as the two most valued forms of recognition to administrative professionals, support staff favored a simple thank-you and having their accomplishments passed on to senior management.

The study was developed by OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and includes responses from 549 administrative professionals in the United States and Canada and 300 managers in the United States. The full survey results are reported in Recognize Results: Drive Success Through Employee Recognition, a research guide released in advance of Administrative Professionals Week (APW), April 19-25. The complimentary guide can be ordered at

The forms of recognition valued most by administrative professionals, as ranked by managers and support staff*:


Administrative Professionals

1. Promotion

1. In-person thank-you (tied for first)

2. Cash

1. Boss shares achievement with senior
    management (tied for first)

3. Paid time off

3. Promotion

4. Boss shares achievement with senior    

4. Membership to a professional

5. In-person thank-you

5. Registration for a conference or

*Only the top responses are shown. Charts containing a full list of rated rewards and other key findings can be viewed at

The research also revealed how instrumental recognition is in attracting and retaining professionals, even in a soft economy. Two out of three (66 percent) administrative employees polled said they would likely leave their jobs if they did not feel appreciated by their manager. And seven out of 10 (70 percent) support professionals said the company’s recognition program would factor into their decision to accept a job with a potential employer.     

“While financial rewards should not be overlooked, the research shows there are other ways to effectively recognize someone’s commitment and dedication,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Administrative professionals are working harder than ever, but their accomplishments usually occur behind the scenes. Therefore, praise from supervisors or colleagues that is specific, immediate and genuine can go a long way toward keeping these employees motivated and loyal.”

Managers also should recognize the value administrative personnel place on professional development. “When support staff receive association memberships or registration to a seminar or conference, both the employee and company benefit,” said Barbara Horton, IAAP’s 2008-09 international president, who holds the Certified Administrative Professional designation. “The small investment in education pays big rewards when administrative staff share new skills with colleagues and increase efficiencies at their organizations.”

Hosking noted that with Administrative Professionals Week around the corner, it’s an opportune time for managers to sit down with their office support staff and discuss which rewards they find most meaningful. “Many people view Administrative Professionals Week as a time to show appreciation to their assistant with lunch or flowers, but it may be more meaningful to discuss his or her career path and growth potential,” he said.

About OfficeTeam and IAAP
OfficeTeam provides businesses with the highly skilled administrative professionals they need to maximize productivity, achieve cost efficiency and support full-time staff. The staffing firm has more than 325 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) is the world’s largest association for administrative support staff, with more than 550 chapters and approximately 40,000 members and affiliates worldwide. For more information, visit

About the Study

Both surveys were developed by OfficeTeam and IAAP. The manager survey was conducted online by an independent research firm and includes responses from 300 individuals in the United States who directly or indirectly manage an administrative professional. The views of support staff are based on an online survey of 549 administrative professionals in the United States and Canada. Both surveys were conducted in December 2008.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Recognize Results: Drive Success Through Employee Recognition research guide and full-color survey charts are available upon request.

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