Sam Walton: Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.
Today was the end of Administrative Professionals Week. Or Staff Appreciation Week. Or Employee Appreciation Week. Our firm celebrated with little goodies every day this week, including an ice cream social (Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was on sale!) and some gift cards. Who can’t use a little appreciation now and again?
During World War II, there was an increased need for skilled administrative personnel, particularly in the United States. The National Secretaries Association (NSA) was formed to recognize the contributions of secretaries and other administrative personnel to the economy, to support their personal development and to help attract people to administrative careers in the field. The association’s name was changed to Professional Secretaries International (PSI) in 1981 and, finally, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) in 1998.
These changes in name reflected the changing nature of the tasks, qualifications and responsibilities of the members of the organization. IAAP now has an international orientation and continues to provide education and training and set standards of excellence recognized by the business community on a global perspective. The organization’s vision is “to inspire and equip all administrative professionals to attain excellence.”
The first National Secretaries Week was organized in 1952 in conjunction with the United States Department of Commerce and various office supply and equipment manufacturers. The Wednesday of that week became known as National Secretaries Day. As the organization gained international recognition, the events became known as Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day. In 2000, IAAP announced that names of the week and the day were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of the modern administrative workforce. Many work environments across the world observe this event.
I was a member of PSI back in the 70s and 80s and we were thrilled that bosses easily showed their appreciation by sending their secretaries flowers. (One year when I worked in New York back in the dark ages, I actually ordered my own flowers!)
Law firms have been showing their staff appreciation during this week and not specifically calling us administrative professionals. That’s okay with me. A “thank you” and a bagel are sufficient tokens of appreciation today. A gift card works too.