Each year, the last full week of April (24th – 30th , 2016) is set aside in appreciation as Administrative Professional’s Week. It is on the Wednesday of that week (April 27) that is designated as Administrative Professional Appreciation Day.
The term Administrative Professional is a bit of a catch-all title. It is a VERY BROAD job category that covers the entire scope of responsibilities and contributions made by office coordinators, administrative assistants, administrative specialists, executive assistants, office managers, and supportive office employees.
Depending on the size of the company, the scope of work managed by an Administrative Professional can be very diverse. Regardless of function, Administrative Professionals are often found at the very heart of every company. No one knows more about the ins and outs, the politics or where the dirty pictures can be found than the Admin staff!
Administrative Professionals keep offices up and running and staff organized. They are the smile that brightens everyone’s day.
Origin of Administrative Professionals Week
Administrative Professionals Week was originally named Secretary’s Week. Back in 1952, secretaries ruled the roost. In 2000 the name was changed and over the years the Administrative function has taken on many new, challenging and exciting tasks. Today the role has a 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 Appreciation Day is now one of the largest observances existing in the workplace.
Administrative Professionals Role
Many people think of Admin Professionals as being female and primarily performing clerical duties. You are not in Kansas anymore!
In nearly every industry, executives, managers and other professionals would be unable to perform at a high functioning level without professional admin assistance. It is the talented support staff that create, coordinate, manage and distribute high value, confidential and / or time sensitive information. When I ran a business distributed from Thunder Bay to Victoria (including the entire north!), I would never have been able to travel as much on business, approve expensive accounts or keep all the balls in the air at the same time without my ‘right arm’. My assistant was God sent!
Since technology has helped us all with our personal correspondence, today it is not uncommon for Administrative Professionals to own responsibility for organizing, coordinating and assigning the schedules of MULTIPLE people such as executives, their teams and company customers. Not a simple or easy task!
In a larger organizations, often the Administrative role may 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 holding down the fort for every person in the company!
Administrative Professionals are at the heart of the company and they keep offices running and staff organized.
Where do we find Administrative Professionals?
As covered off above, Admin Professional is a very broad job category that covers an enormous scope of responsibilities. You may hear their various ‘titles’ described as :
- Administrative Officer
- Administrative Coordinator
- Administrative Assistant
- Administrative Specialist
- Executive Assistant
- Office Manager
- Office Support
- Operations Assistant
- Team Administrator
- Human Resources Assistant
- Sales Administrator
- Sales Coordinator
- Sales and Marketing Assistant
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 simplied!
What does it take to be a great Administrative Professional?
Administrative 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.
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.”
True acknowledgment (of people important to us) occurs when the receiver is aware that their likes and personal preferences have been noted.
Administrative Professional Qualifications
An Admin Professional is a multi-tasking co-worker with a vast array of 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
Administrative Professionals are the glue that holds the business together and the people who keep us powered!
Administrative Professionals Appreciation Day is the day set aside to remind individuals at all levels in the business about how much of their efforts are directly linked to the support they receive EVERY DAY they go to work. 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?
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? It is estimated that there are more than 475,000 Administrative Professionals in Canada.
Make appreciation a habit. 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!
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!
Acknowledgment 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. 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.
Recognition is the greatest motivator.
Secrets of the Administrative Assistant
“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
PLEASE REMIND EVERYONE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WEEK AHEAD!