Your Right Hand

I spent the first half of my working career as an administrative professional.  Of course, we were known as “secretaries” in those days.  No matter what you call them, they are often the unsung heroes of a business.

While they may not be a direct member of our sales force, PresentationMaterialsthey likely are the ones who prepare professional looking presentation materials used in the sales process.  They follow up with vendors to insure critical elements of a project are on time and track shipments.  They generate the invoices that get us paid and review invoices we receive for errors.  They are also our eyes and ears throughout the organization, often aware of problems or concerns before they are obvious to us.

In many cases, they speak to our customers and our vendors more often than we do!

FilingThis is the week designated as “National Administrative Professionals Week”.  They had to give us a week rather than simply a day (which is today, Wednesday) because they knew without our “right hand” nudging us, we’d forget.  This way we have 5 days to do something in recognition and still have it count!

What should you do?  At the very least, a card or FloralArrangementhandwritten note of appreciation.  Other popular choices are flowers, chocolates and taking them out to lunch.    For your own standing in the office, it should be something visible.  Flowers on their desk are seen by coworkers as a sign that you are a caring supervisor.  Same for being seen taking your assistant out to lunch.

OliveGardenIf you are not one who is comfortable socializing with others over lunch, consider flowers and a lunch or dinner gift card.  I actually like this idea because it offers what I call “quality of life enhancements”.    Simply put, your “right hand” makes your work life better by all the little things they do for you so it’s only fitting you do something to make their life a little better too.  An evening out with their loved ones on you (dinner gift card) is a great way.

BillEngvallSame goes for concert or theater tickets if you know there is something they have been wanting to see.  I just got our assistant tickets to see Bill Engvall this summer at the Snoqualmie Casino’s outdoor concert venue.  The additional benefit to you is that the “home team” also enjoys the quality of life enhancement.  This can encourage the support necessary to reduce turnover – think about it – do you have time to recruit, hire and train a new right hand???

shutterstock_46764385There are countless good reasons to embrace Administrative Professional’s Week.  Your coworkers are watching and evaluating your leadership, you have an opportunity to cement employee loyalty and of course, your “right hand” deserves it!

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