Administrative professionals are often organizational maestros, quietly but prominently ensuring colleagues hit their marks and come together at the right time. At the executive level, great executive assistants (EAs) lessen the task load of the business leaders they support while advancing the company’s mission.
First promoted in 1952 as National Secretaries Week by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the annual celebration of professional assistants was renamed Administrative Professionals Week in 2000. In the U.S., Administrative Professionals Week is the last full week of April, and Administrative Professionals Day (some people might shorthand it as “admin day”) is observed on the Wednesday of that week. In 2022, Administrative Professionals Day falls on April 27.
Gift Ideas for Administrative Professionals Day
IAAP advises executive assistants and admins of all kinds to use the opportunity to “ask for the things they need to be successful — like commensurate pay and professional development opportunities.”
There are many ways for you to acknowledge your executive assistant’s contributions to the organization on Administrative Professionals Day 2022. Lunch at an upscale restaurant, an afternoon spa treatment and the day off are a few ways administrative professionals are celebrated. Others include a personally curated gift basket and a monetary bonus. For administrative professionals who have shown interest in developing their professional skills, consider gifting enrollment in a career-development workshop or an educational certification, or a membership in a professional association, to promote their growth. (See our full list of Gift Ideas for Your Executive Assistant.)
What Exactly Is an Executive Assistant or Administrative Professional? What Do Executive Assistants Do?
There are more than 3.3 million administrative assistants and secretaries employed in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Professional titles vary: administrative assistant, office manager, executive assistant, personal assistant, secretary, even chief of staff.
The work of administrative professionals largely prioritizes interpersonal and written communication skills, as well as organizational abilities. Their responsibilities range from fielding calls and emails to coordinating travel and meetings to crafting presentations and managing a wide variety of day-to-day office needs. The work they do is often what holds a business’s operations together — and in the case of executive assistants, what keeps their executives focused on the bigger picture.
The worth of executive assistants is substantial. In a Harvard Business Review article, Melba J. Duncan, president of The Duncan Group and a former executive assistant, explains the return on investment in a great executive assistant: “Consider a senior executive whose total compensation package is $1 million annually, who works with an assistant who earns $80,000. For the organization to break even, the assistant must make the executive 8% more productive than he or she would be working solo — for instance, the assistant needs to save the executive roughly five hours in a 60-hour workweek. In reality, good assistants save their bosses much more than that.”
An executive assistant who’s well-matched with an executive is able to pivot and adapt appropriately, taking certain tasks off of the executive’s plate and acting as not just an assistant but a strategic partner. This working relationship propels an executive’s productivity, building on the company’s success.
Executive assistants and administrative professionals have been indispensable resources in companies for decades. While their work should be acknowledged and appreciated regularly, one day each year offers the opportunity to shine a spotlight on their excellence. So, be sure to celebrate your administrative and executive assistants and wish them a happy Administrative Professionals Day 2022!