Administrative support workers are the often-under-appreciated lifeblood of a modern company. Managers and executives need to spend their time thinking about top-level strategy and developing plans for the company to execute, but they can't do that if they're spending their time doing data entry or answering phone calls. Administrative support staff handles these daily tasks and responsibilities to help the entire business run more smoothly.
Unfortunately, administrative support workers are undervalued in the workplace. Often derided as "mere secretaries" and paid a meager $41k per year on average, these people deserve far more than they often get. Without them, the business might just cease to function or at the very least operate at a much lower efficiency.
In an effort to increase the visibility of these essential workers and help promote appreciation, many companies around the world have started to observe Admin Appreciation Day (or week, or month). The only question is, how can you show your appreciation? Empty gestures simply draw into focus how under-appreciated these workers often are, so you need to show true appreciation. You've already sought out the best; now show them that you mean it when you say you appreciate their efforts.
One of the most common go-to ways to appreciate workers within your company is company-wide recognition. You can go about this in many ways.
A department-wide or company-wide email to recognize and appreciate the efforts of an individual employee.
An "employee of the month" placard and award.
Personal chats with upper management, executives, or C-levels.
Celebratory lunches or other events, with catering.
These kinds of rewards can break up the monotony of a workweek, offer tangible recognition throughout an organization, and help make administrative support staff feel appreciated.
As nice as it is to have a certificate of excellence or a catered lunch, many admin staff want more tangible rewards for their efforts. Days off, flexible hours, working from home; these kinds of rewards can go a lot further towards relieving stress and promoting a healthy work/life balance.
Other more tangible rewards can include financial bonuses, gift cards, and even paid trips. It's important that a tangible reward be truly tangible; a monogrammed thank-you note is pleasant but doesn't help pay the bills or support a family on a night out.
Listening to Feedback
While administrative support staff are the lynchpin in many organizations, they are also often ignored or thought of as little more than data processors. They have their own thoughts, opinions, and perspectives on the organization and on their roles.
While rewarding them for their efforts is important, it can be just as important to sit down and chat with them, listen to what they have to say, and address their concerns. Sometimes, the best reward they could ask for is a channel for feedback that is actually acknowledged and issues that are addressed. What is a gift card compared to the removal of a years-long stressor?
The Pitfall of Platitudes
Perhaps the biggest problem with recognition days and awards is that, at the end of the day, they don't have tangible value. A recognition email, a certificate of employee of the month, a thank-you note; these don't help pay bills, relax after work, or solve problems a modern employee is facing every day. It's crucial to identify real ways to appreciate your administrative support, not just ways a list on the internet tells you to. Consider talking with them directly and asking what they would appreciate most.
Finding the Best
Administrative support workers are among the most important – and most invisible – employees a business can have. Whether it's managing executive schedules, handling phone calls, or data entry, these support workers perform tasks that are crucial to the success of a business. It's important to recognize the staff you have, but you may also be in need of new admin support workers. If that's the case, at Infinity Consulting, we can hook you up. Contact us today, and we can help provide you with the best admin staff available.