ARE YOU RECOGNIZING YOUR RIGHT HAND?

Nearly Half of Firms Don't Celebrate Administrative Professionals Week, Survey Shows

MENLO PARK, CA -- Administrative Professionals Week is coming soon, yet many employees will see little fanfare, a recent survey suggests. Forty-six percent of workers polled say their companies don't acknowledge the week, which begins April 21 and recognizes the contributions of support staff throughout the United States and Canada. Among those businesses that do celebrate, taking the assistant to lunch is the most popular form of recognition.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 567 men and women, all 18 years of age or older and employed full time in professional environments.

Workers were asked, "Does your office usually recognize administrative staff during Administrative Professionals Week (APW), which is April 21-27?" Their responses: 

Yes   45%
No   46%
Don't know/no answer   9%
    100%

Among the 45 percent of workers who said their offices do celebrate APW, the following were the most popular ways to mark the occasion: 

Lunch/taking out for lunch   62%
Flowers   33%
A day off   12%
Candy   6%
Gifts/gift certificates   4%
Cards   2%
Something else   7%

(More than one response was permitted.)

"Administrative professionals have more responsibilities than ever before," said Liz Hughes, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Recognizing these efforts is critical to their job satisfaction and motivation." She noted that businesses that fail to reward staff during Administrative Professionals Week might be missing out on other opportunities. "High morale leads to higher productivity. Managers should use this week to acknowledge employee contributions and commit to continuing this practice throughout the year. "

Hughes said the best ideas for recognition don't need extensive planning or large budgets. She recommends the following: 

  • Ask questions - Employees differ in the ways they seek and respond to recognition. If you're not sure how your assistant wants to celebrate the week, ask.
     
  • Alleviate the burden - If your assistant has been burning the midnight oil or spending too much time on routine tasks, offer to hire a temporary for a day or two to ease the workload. This will free your assistant to devote more time to the most critical projects.
     
  • Look beyond food and flowers - These are great ways to say thanks, but their benefits are short-lived. Think about options that provide greater mileage and make your assistant's job more rewarding. Examples include training opportunities or a more flexible schedule. 
     
  • Involve the group - If your assistant supports an entire department, ask everyone to take part in the celebration. Encourage each person to mention a time or a project in which the assistant played a critical role. Invite staff to take turns serving as "assistant for an hour" during Administrative Professionals Day (April 24).  

OfficeTeam has launched Career Makeover 2002 in recognition of Administrative Professionals Week. The project identifies five major areas for enhancing professional advancement opportunities. Additional details are available at www.officeteam.com.

Administrative Professionals Week (April 21-27) and Administrative Professionals Day (April 24) were formerly known as Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day, respectively. Both are sponsored by the International Association of Administrative Professionals and celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. More information on the history of Administrative Professionals Week is available at www.iaap-hq.org

OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.


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