For many leaders, the work their executive assistant does is the difference-maker in reaching maximum efficiency and productivity. Executive assistants (EAs) connect the dots in logistical and workforce planning, contribute to major projects and often lead the way on new internal initiatives. Without great EAs chopping down a complex to-do list, these tasks would overload executives and stall business growth.
Considering the critical role that EAs fulfill, it’s just as critical to recognize and acknowledge their contributions to your company — at the holidays, throughout the year as your EA wraps up key projects, and of course on Administrative Professionals Day in 2022.
Knowing your EA’s interests — both professional and personal — can guide your gift-giving selections and ensure the gesture is meaningful. Find inspiration in these smart gift ideas for your executive assistant:
The Best, Most Inexpensive Gift Idea for Your Executive Assistant
Take it from us: Buy an assortment of nice thank-you cards or personalized stationery, and stash it in your desk drawer. The least you can do (simple, handwritten thank-you notes to your EA when they’re most merited) will be the most valued.
Next-level ideas for acknowledging your executive assistant’s hard work and impact include honoring them with an employee award and/or a special event. You might also nominate them for an industry-wide recognition such as the American Society of Administrative Professionals’ Eureka! award.
Gift Ideas for Your Executive Assistant: Curated Gift Boxes
The modern era of gift boxes offers thoughtful and unique options that enable you to personalize the products to match your EA’s taste. Box Fox has a wide range of curated gift boxes filled with products geared to travelers, whiskey drinkers and pasta lovers, as well as products that encourage self-care and relaxation (cost: $35 – $250). Foxblossom Co. allows you to choose from themed curated boxes or build your own by selecting from dozens of products, priced individually, to reflect your EA’s interests and likes ($50 – $250). Knack sells pre-boxed gifts for a variety of occasions, interests and price ranges.
Food-filled gift boxes and baskets are also a great gift option for your executive assistant if you know their tastes. Sugarwish offers various boxes filled with candy, cookies, popcorn and snacks. Select “I’ll choose the flavors” to fill a box with your EA’s favorites ($22 – $77). Spoonful of Comfort’s themed gift boxes contain a variety of soups, cookies and other goodies ($25 – $160).
Or you can best personalize a gift box for your EA by building it from scratch: Start by selecting a theme—say, handmade, sustainable, gourmet, well-being, etc.—then purchase and package several items within that theme.
Gift Ideas for Your Executive Assistant: A Break From Work
On Administrative Professionals Day, taking your EA out for lunch is almost a given — at least when there isn’t a pandemic raging. A nice lunch (cost: $75 – $200) during the workday allocates quality time to chat about non-work topics and shows you care about maintaining the relationship. You should probably do it more often.
Providing an extra paid day off of work (cost: one day of pay and productivity) allows your executive assistant to spend time with their family or relax at home. Especially if your EA has voiced a desire to have more time to do the things they enjoy—whether it’s crafts, volunteering, an adventure with the kids, or a ski getaway—giving them a day away from the office shows your regard for their needs.
Up the ante on the day-off gift by footing the bill for a spa session ($200 – $300) that will help them really unwind. Spa treatments are personal, so buy a gift card and let your EA select and schedule specific treatments that will relax them most.
Gift Ideas for Your Executive Assistant: Professional Development
For EAs intent on expanding their skill sets and advancing their careers, consider enrolling them in a course or certificate program (such as project management or social media) that matches their interests. The cost of programs varies. For instance, the project management basics online course through the Project Management Institute runs $400, Hootsuite Academy’s advanced social media strategy course is $999, and the Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE) through the American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) is $375.
Another way to encourage your EA’s professional development is to pay for their membership in an industry or professional organization they’re interested in. Your executive assistant can join ASAP free, and you could pay for attendance at the organization’s annual Administrative Professionals Conference and Executive Assistants’ Summit ($1,635 – $2,400). If your EA seeks to develop their personal brand as a public speaker on topics of expertise, consider a gift of membership to Toastmasters ($65 for new members) or the National Speakers Association ($348 – $3,700 annually) or a gift of sessions with a speaking coach.
Share your winning ideas for gifts for executive assistants. We’ll add to this post as we hear from you and your peers.