Administrative Professionals Keep Us Powered


Wednesday, April 22nd is Administrative Professionals Day and it falls in the middle of a full week of celebration.

Administrative Professionals are some of the most highly valued employees in every company – they are often the glue that binds. When was the last time they heard that? Among everything else they accomplish, Administrative Professionals oversee and implement administrative procedures, establish work priorities and coordinate the acquisition of administrative services such as office space, supplies and security services.

Where do we find Administrative Professionals? 

In today’s business environment, Administrative Professionals is a bit of a catch-all title.  It has become a very broad job category that covers the entire scope of responsibilities, and valuable contributions. These team members may be referred to as –

  • Administrative Officers
  • Administrative Coordinators
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Administrative Specialists
  • Executive Assistants
  • Office Managers
  • Office Support
  • Receptionists
  • Executive Assistants
  • Operations Assistants
  • Team Administrators
  • Human Resources Assistants
  • Sales Administrators
  • Sales Coordinators
  • Sales and Marketing Assistants
  • Etc.

treat peopleDepending on the size of the company, the scope of work managed by an Administrative Professional can be very diverse. What we know is that Administrative Professionals are often found at the very heart of the company. No one knows more about the ins and outs, the politics and where the dirty pictures can be found. Administrative Professionals keep offices up and running and staff organized. They are the smile that brightens everyone’s day.

Origin of Administrative Professionals Day – it’s actually a whole week!

Originally named Secretary’s Week / Day in 1952, this annual period of appreciation was designed for those individuals counted on for a variety of needs each and every day of the year. In 2000 the name was officially changed to Administrative Professionals Week / Day.

Over the years the Administrative function has taken on many new, challenging and exciting tasks that have significantly expanded the job description. The ‘new category’ title is so much more appropriate because it broadens the spotlight in today’s modern company. Administrative Professionals Day is now one of the largest observances existing in the workplace.

Administrative Professionals Role

assistanceOften when the role of Administrative Professional is mentioned, most people think of females who primarily perform clerical duties. Not anymore! In nearly every industry, executives, managers and other professionals would be unable to perform at a high functioning level without the professional assistance they require to perform, create, coordinate, manage and distribute high value, confidential and / or time sensitive information.

It is not uncommon for Administrative Professionals to own responsibility for organizing, coordinating and assigning the schedules of several executives, their teams and company customers. In a larger company, the Administrative role can also entail supporting specific departments such as Human Resources, Accounting, Business Development, Sales & Marketing or Information Technology. Conversely, in smaller companies and start-ups, a single ‘Admin’ may be responsible to provide support for every person in the company!

Mark Zuckerberg has said of his executive assistant, Anikka Fragodt “She helped me become a better CEO’. Her response was “”It’s not like the old days of ‘Mad Men,’ where the secretary wears the cute skirt, makes the coffee and does what she’s supposed to do. She goes to the meetings and represents the executive, and the partnership is stronger.”

“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.”

~ Alfred North Whitehead, British mathematician, logician and philosopher

What does it take to be a great Administrative Professional?

superhero administrativeAdministrative Professionals must be a quick study, have an excellent memory and be the consummate politician. Resolving day-to-day administrative and operational problems is no easy feat! Some Administrative Professionals are even required to be talented event and party planners. An Administrator may be responsible for making most of the decisions on the scheduling of board meetings, luncheons, etc., researching vendor prices, menus and inquiring about participants’ availability among other things.

What’s in a name? In a simple statement – A very broad set of skills, knowledge, personal traits and attitudes – but that is far too simple!  In action, an Administrative Professional is a multi-tasking co-worker who exhibits a vast array of both hard and soft skills, including but not limited to:

  • Strong work ethic
  • Highly productive
  • Developed problem-solving, sensitivity and critical thinking skills
  • Deductive and inductive reasoning skills
  • Exceptional organizational skills
  • Technology skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills
  • Well-developed planning skills
  • Team player with good collaboration skills
  • Resolve conflicts and negotiate with others
  • Selective attention and time sharing
  • Interpretive, translator who explains many things
  • Monitor and manage processes, materials, and / or surroundings
  • Ability to gather information from sources
  • Customer focused
  • Point Person
  • Keeper of secrets

“Keep your eyes open and try to catch people in your company doing something right, then praise them for it.” ~Tom Hopkins, professional speaker and trainer

Appreciation – Make it a Habit 

It was Aristotle that said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”.

thanksRemember – Quick, Easy and Meaningful does it. The most basic signs of gratitude often carry the most weight and can become very worthwhile habits when put into regular practice. How about sending off an email that says, “Hey… this is really great work – thanks for this!”? How difficult is it to remember to say Please and Thank on a consistent basis (remember what mom taught you?)

Acknowledgement can be as simple as noticing when extra time is put in and mentioning it when it has made a difference in a team meeting. The payback for something free is enormous! Recognition is the greatest motivator.

Simple will always work best.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  It doesn’t have to be time consuming.  And it certainly should never ever be fake or disingenuous. Everyone wants to be appreciated!

“It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.”

~ Roberto Benigni, Italian film director, actor, writer and producer of the brilliant Academy Award winning film “Life is Beautiful”

In Summary

Administrative Professionals Appreciation Day is set for managers of all levels to support and reward their support network.  So on this day send them a card, take them out to lunch, buy them flowers, or offer the afternoon off. Gift certificates work, too. How about a massage, pedicure/manicure or movie tickets?

hold togetherIt is estimated that there are more than 475,000 Administrative Professionals in Canada. Administrators are the glue that holds offices together and bonding us together. Appreciating these multi-talented individuals for one week /day per year is really not asking very much – they help us be successful – plain and simple.

For those of you looking for the right verbiage, here are some examples of sincere thank you & appreciation in words Who knows, maybe you can even get yourself in the special good books!

If you are interested, below are a couple of YouTube that may help put the Day into perspective.

Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day!

Secrets of the Administrative Assistant

“People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition and appreciation.”

~ Dr. Bob Nelson, one of the world’s leading experts on employee motivation, performance, engagement, recognition and rewards  


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