Beyond the Paycheck

Why Appreciating Your Administrative Assistants Matters

National Administrative Professionals’ Day  is right around the corner and the Working Enneagram Team is in your corner to guide you through why your Administrative Assistants deserve a little something extra!

First, If you’re a business leader or manager and  you’re reading this, you get a big shout out! It’s great that you’re thinking about how to show your appreciation for administrative professionals in your organization.  

Second, can we be real a second? As a business leader it can feel like there is always something more you need to account for, celebrate, plan for, or do for your team… Honestly, can’t we just delegate planning and celebrating Admin Professiona’s Day? Coach Kelsey here – I’m going to say no on this one- mostly because you’d likely be delegating this task to the Amin Professionals, and generally speaking we try not to celebrate people by asking them to plan their own celebrations.

If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of celebrating your administrative assistants, you’re in luck. It’s not as hard as you’re making it out to be. Promise. 

Here are some simple ideas, and this is low hanging fruit for most personality types:

  • Write a thank you note or email to express your gratitude: Simply saying thank you and expressing your appreciation can go a long way. Make sure to specifically mention the contributions they have made to the organization. 
  • Give a small gift, such as flowers, snacks, or a gift card to a local restaurant or shop. 
  • Provide time off: Consider offering administrative professionals an extra day off, or allowing them to leave work early. This one is a BIG hit!
  • Host a simple team lunch or happy hour, to recognize and appreciate the hard work of administrative professionals in your organization.

The dangers of not recognizing or celebrating your administrative assistants. 

Gone are the days where compensation is enough to retain good employees.  The reality of our current work culture is that compensation is only one factor that employees consider when deciding whether to stay in a job. Ignoring opportunities to recognize the contributions of your team members,  or solely relying on the belief that their paycheck is enough, can lead to a domino effect of unfortunate events.

Low morale: If employees feel that they are only valued for their ability to perform specific tasks and are not recognized for their contributions or development, they will become disengaged and unhappy in their job. Which leads to…

Poor performance: Employees who are not engaged or motivated perform poorly, leading to decreased productivity and quality of work. A team that has poor engagement and low quality of work leads to…

Turnover: Employees may be more likely to leave if they feel that they are not being recognized or appreciated for their contributions.  Which leads to…

Difficulty attracting new talent: Business leader, Dave Ramsey, puts it this way.  “Thoroughbreds don’t run with donkeys.  They run with other thoroughbreds. Once you get 2 or 3 thoroughbreds, they will run the donkeys off.”

To retain your administrative assistants, you should understand what motivates them and  focus on providing a positive work environment, opportunities for growth and development, and a supportive workplace culture.

5 Simple ways to learn what motivates your administrative assistants.  

Understanding what motivates your administrative assistants in the workplace will lead to improved communication, better delegations, and enhanced teamwork.  We’ve  yet to meet a business leader who doesn’t want to get better in any of those areas.  We recommend using a variety of tools and resources to learn what motivates your team. 

Here are five simple ones:

  • Employee surveys: Conducting surveys is one of the easiest ways to gather feedback from your administrative assistants about their motivations, goals, and needs.  Coach Kelsey here – for the love, please ask your administrative assistants how YOU can get better as their leader. A simple “What is one thing I can do differently?” goes a long way, especially when you follow through with their suggestions. 
  • One-on-one meetings: Regular one-on-one meetings with your administrative assistants can provide a set time  for open communication and feedback. We recommend weekly 15-30 minute meetings if you can swing it. 
  • Personality assessments: Personality assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Clifton Strengths, and the Enneagram can provide insights into your administrative assistant’s work style and preferences. People are not static. Avoid falling into the “same as it always was” mindset, and allow space for your people’s preferences to change.  Your administrative assistant may have liked Diet Coke last month, but not this month.. 
  • Performance metrics: Tracking performance metrics, such as productivity, quality of work, and attendance, can provide insight into what motivates your administrative assistants. You can use this information to identify areas for improvement and develop strategies for increasing motivation and engagement.
  • Professional development opportunities: Offering professional development opportunities, such as team training, mentorship, and coaching, can help your administrative assistants develop new skills and advance their careers. 

Remember, it’s important to recognize the contributions of administrative professionals not just on National Administrative Assistant Day, but throughout the year.  And don’t make recognition overwhelming – keep it sweet & simple.