5 Ways to Thank the Assistants Who Help You Succeed

Did you know Administrative Professionals Week is April 20 – 24?

This happens to be one of my favorite weeks of the year – and not just because I was once an assistant myself before I founded my training company, Office Dynamics, back in 1990.

I love celebrating Administrative Professionals Week because it gives me a chance to thank my own assistant for everything she does to help me be even more successful. If it weren’t for administrative professionals, business would cease. Managers and executives could not be effective. In fact, if not for assistants, the entire economy would collapse. If you don’t agree, just think of what happens when your assistant is out, even for a day! Multiply that by more than 4 million assistants in the United States alone and… well, you get my point!

Here are five great ways to thank the assistants – those outstanding, indispensable administrative professionals who help us succeed each and every day:

  1. Support their professional development. For example, if there’s a seminar, conference or training session they can attend in the future, on- or off-site, let them go! Sure, you’ll miss them for a few hours. Supporting their career development sends the message that you do appreciate their efforts.
  2. Give a meaningful gift. Note my intentional use of the word “meaningful.” Everyone gives flowers, coffee mugs, balloons or similar items. This year, why not invest in gifts that help advance assistants’ careers? There’s no shortage of books, CDs, DVDs, webinars and other career-enhancing tools in a wide range of prices. Take your pick – and reinforce the respect you have for their career aspirations.
  3. Treat them to lunch. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on Administrative Professionals Day, April 22. Maybe you wait until a few weeks from now – whenever it’s convenient for both of you! Be sure to use the time to get to know your assistant even better. Avoid talking about work. Make your assistant feel as special as he or she is.
  4. Give them special flex time. This depends, of course, on your employer’s policies and project deadlines. Still, if you can let your assistant leave a little early one day next week, it’s a nice way to say, “Thank you for the times you’ve stayed late to help me.”
  5. Offer a sincere thank you. Sometimes, the most invaluable gifts we receive are heartfelt compliments. Whether you publicly praise assistants at a department meeting or personally look them in the eye and express your gratitude, the gesture is sure to be appreciated.

Monday_MotivatorsIf you are an assistant, then congratulations on your continued success in this worthwhile, incredibly important career. Our hats are off to you!  

Two questions for you: In what way would YOU like to see thanks (acknowledgement, time off, lunch, professional development, etc.) How long have you been an assistant? We’ve got prizes in store for you!

Joan Burge



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39 thoughts on “5 Ways to Thank the Assistants Who Help You Succeed”

  1. I’ve been an administrative assistant for 20+ years. My favorite ways of being acknowledged for APW are professional development (several years my boss paid for me to attend my local IAAP chapter’s seminar) or extra time off.

  2. As an admin for 20+ years, recognition for all I have to know to do my job in complete competency (and more) is the best! And letting me pursue my knowledge base. I have been an IAAP member for over 10 years and that has been a big boost – I have been able to increase my “knowledge rolodex” one hundred-fold with all the education & networking. I have been fortunate in that my renewal falls close to APW, so my employers have paid my annual membership fee – I consider that my thank you and acknowledgement.

    I know that some companies are not able to support properly due to budgets, etc and send their admins to conferences – in the instances where that has occurred to me, they have acknowledged with flowers, lunch, etc. and always made me feel appreciated.

    I have been involved in organizing an APW event every year (vendor/networking expo and speaker) for the last 11 years – free for the attendees – that I hope gives a celebratory experience no matter if the office recognizes or not – it’s all about how You feel about Yourself!

    The most important thing is that they value you and let you know – no matter what the situation.

  3. For the first time in many years, I work for a company where I feel appreciated. I’m part time, but I still accumulate vacation and get holiday pay. They also allow for a flexible schedule. Because our department is busy, they’re very appreciative of any extra time I can give them. Any kind of acknowledgement, no matter how simple, is appreciated, as far as I’m concerned.

  4. Malissa Schaffer

    Wow…It’s been 21 years, how fast it goes. I love to receive professional development items, conferences would be a biggie but I love books and such that I can refer to over and over again.

    Happy Admin week everyone.

  5. My whole career Administrative Professional’s week has been such a wonderful time of year. Even those I worked for that showed appreciation all year round made an extra effort to let me know how I made a difference in our office. Fast forward to my current position. I would be thankful for acknowledgement on any day, let alone Admin. Prof.’s day for a “Thank you” or “Job well done.” I’ve paid for my own professional development, books, and online subscriptions. I try to stay positive, but it is probably the hardest week of the year now. Seeing everyone else being recognized is difficult especially when I’m asked “What did you get?”

  6. I have been in my career for 30 years and love what I do! I would really love to have more professional development and a Great Job with emphasis on things relevant to how I helped and made their lives easier.

  7. I’ve been an assistant for more than 30 years. I love to get flowers, they brighten my day. My favorite way to be recognized would be to get a gift certificate for a massage. It’s a great stress reducer!! A sincere thank you is always appreciated!

  8. At this point it would be nice to receive any positive acknowledgement. Years ago a supervisor would remind the bosses and we would be taken out to lunch. Then they started going on vacation in April, getting back around Administrative Assistants day and forgetting us in the process. But for the most part I try not to focus too much on it and do what I need to do. We even remember to acknowledge them on Boss’s Day.

  9. I have a great boss who acknowledges my contributions to her team outside of the administrative professionals day: thank you notes; lunches out; kudos to other executives in my presence; and encouragement in all aspects of my job. I am truly blessed! I would like annual financial assistance with professional development; however, the PD budget has been really tight. We also take turns attending company-paid conferences between a pool of administrative professionals. Thank you for the free webinars this year — they are awesome.

  10. Where I work I feel the appreciation every day. Not just from the manager that I support, but also from her 2 assistant managers and all 3 teams. My manager is one of those very independent people and I can remember when I first started working for her she told me, “We’re going to have to do something about your initiative!” I was shocked, I thought I was helping and doing a good job by not having to be micromanaged. Previous managers have liked the self starter attitude, the initiative that have has been my strength. I didn’t need someone holding my hand, I did what needed to be done and helped organize and streamline daily tasks and it worked for the better of the team. Well, we do Administer the Office needs and I have 11 years of experience so I guess I didn’t feel that I needed a lot of guidance here I felt that it was my job to help her to be successful by doing my job and doing it well. It’s been 4 years with this manager and the last 2 1/2 years have been much better. It took a while, but I know she appreciates me and what I do for her and her team.

  11. 27 years and counting at being an admin assistant. It’s nice to be appreciated with flowers, lunch or a simple gift but there are times I’ve been the recipient of fake appreciate and over the top appreciation. I’m of the opinion if you can’t be sincere – don’t bother.

  12. Great information Joan! For the past 3 years we have had a small budget to recognize the over 200 administrative professionals in our company (across 3 different countries). This year, we did not have the same budget and had to find a creative way to recognize our administrative professionals. A director in the company gave a presentation to managers about leadership and one of our admins supported that meeting from a logistic standpoint and recommended it. We thought this was a great topic to share with our admin professionals and will do so next week! Cost = $0.00. Benefit to our administrative professionals = Priceless.

  13. First off – thank all of you for what you do. As a newbie, I enjoy learning from others in this field that take this seriously as a career and not just a job. Makes me look forward to my work as well.

    Besides school and interning. I have been an assistant less than a year in a cpa consulting firm. I find that the admin team here enjoy the support they get, we are taken seriously and that the partners and the individuals we support appreciate our feedback and give us the freedom to take ownership and be a partner in making the business successful. Simply, they care, we will care. Being taken seriously seems to mean more to them here than gifts, etc.

    I love the support and collaboration we have with each other (the admin team) as well. We have weekly meetings as well as being available to each other as needed. No one hesitates to help each other. Everyone that I know here seem to love what they do and feel appreciated. I feel lucky that they support me and want me to be successful.

  14. I love to receive acknowledgements on a “job well done.” This lets me know I am on the right track as to what my boss expects and motivates me to do better. A kind work of praise can go a long way!!

  15. I would love to receive a career development book or webinar. I am a life-long learner and that would be the perfect gift. I have been in this profession for 30 years and LOVE IT! There is so much room for personal and professional growth!

    1. Hi P Collier!
      I’ve been in this profession just a little longer than you. Just wondering if you are located anywhere near Cincinnati? I, too, am a life-long learner although I don’t seem to retain things as I used to but that doesn’t stop me. I think it would be fun to start a little email group – maybe 5-10 people telling each other short cuts we have learned, advice for any situations someone has run into, our favorite methods in office, etc.
      What do you think?

      Thanks and I hope I hear from you and anyone else that might be interested.

  16. I’ve been a Legal Assistant for 29 years now and it’s always nice to receive some type of acknowledgment from my boss on Administrative Professional’s Day, whether it’s an acknowledgment of thanks for my hard work or something else. Too often, we [Admins] go unnoticed for all of our hard work.

    However, I think I would prefer the time off or the lunch the most. The first would allow me to be away from the office to recharge myself (which is important) and the second would allow me to have some private time with my boss to learn more about her and my Company.

  17. Sandy Middleton

    Thank you Joan! I feel my VP has given me his gift already by supporting me in my attendance of your conference this year. I have been in this wonderful profession now for 32 years and have worked in a number of roles, with a plethora of titles and responsibilities, all in the administrative realm. Since the early days of Silicon Valley were full of interesting and exciting start ups, I received a valuable education along this road. The past 4 years have been the very best, after discovering you and your fabulous organization. You have made the “golden years” of my career truly golden!

  18. I have been an Administrative Assistant for sixteen years. My boss (the CEO) and a few of the executive staff that I work directly for, take me to lunch, as well as give me a gift on admin day. I enjoy this special time with them and truly appreciate those that I have the privilege to work with. I am very blessed to have this opportunity and do not take it for granted.

  19. Professional development-there is none in house and not always the support needed to attend outside the company.

    I’ve been an administrative professional over 15 years

  20. Hooray for Admin Professionals Week! Upon graduation from Ohio State, I worked as a Legal Assistant for 1 1/2 years. After leaving the law firm, I obtained a position as a Staff Assistant at Ohio State (more specifically, at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs). I have been here since December 1, 2014. Honestly, I feel like every day is Admin Professionals Day here at the Glenn College. My boss always makes me feel appreciated, and never lets a day go by where “how are you today?” wasn’t asked.

    Personally — and this is rare — I feel appreciated every day. However, if I were to choose something for the occasion, I would like to go to lunch with my boss and talk about non-work related things. Some may call the activity “bonding”. Other than that, a day (or half day) would be awesome. Just a simple, “hey. you work hard every day. To celebrate, take the rest of the day off and go enjoy something that makes you happy”. This is meaningful to me because it would allow me to go enjoy my precious time doing hobbies and things I love. In return, I will be happier at work, and be more willing to go above and beyond for the people I work for.

    Happy Admin Professionals Week!

  21. I’ve been an assistant for 10 years and I enjoy having lunch with my manager. It really is the best time to get to know each other on a personal level. It doesn’t have to be uncomfortable, just how’s your family and share your story.

  22. I have been an administrative assistant for about 11 years. Three years ago I became an Executive Assistant, supporting the CEO, Board members, CFO, President and the HR dept. Flowers are nice, but I can buy my own. What I would really like is an assistant/back-up so that I can take a vacation and not come back to an absolute mess! My employers are very good to me, but ignore my suggestions and options for improving the support they receive.

  23. I’ve been an assistant for my entire career and I love it. The best gifts are those that are genuine and come from the heart. A well written thank you note goes a long way as well as acknowledging my hard work and positive attitude. Lunch with the boss is always a wonderful gift. My favorite gift was a very nicely written thank you card along with a gift certificate–the kinds words meant a lot to me.

  24. I’ve been an assistant for 27 years and I’ve been blessed to have (mostly) great bosses over the years. My first boss mentored me and helped me grow into the EA I am today. My current manager and entire team recognize my efforts almost daily. How lucky am I?? Every day is Administrative Professional Day for me.

  25. I believe a personal gift is very nice, especially if its thoughtful. I also really like the idea of flex time off however I know that is hard to do in many offices. I have been an executive assistant for 35 years and while I’ve had many memorable administratvie professionals weeks, I’ve also had many that were not so memorable. It really makes a difference in the little ways that you treat those around you. Take the time to do something special for those that support you day in and day out!

  26. I would much rather attend training than to receive flowers. Learning last a lifetime, flowers for only a few days. Happy Admininstrative Month to all my fellow professionals.

  27. Administrative Professionals day can be a tough one to get any sort of recognition because often times we have to remind our managers of the day itself! I often times let it go for fear of appearing selfish or self centered. What is a good way to get it on everyone’s calendar without looking like we are begging for praise or gifts?

  28. I would LOVE to see my officer support professional development. I hope to someday attend your training in Las Vegas. I have been an executive assistant for two different companies, 1) 17 years and 2) 15 years [exec asst in this job for 5 years].

  29. I have been an Assistant atvarious levels for 11 years and with my current company for 4 years. In my previous role unfortunately it was not a positive experience. Rarely did a day come that I actually received a thank you, let alone anyone even remembering that it was Admin Day.
    Fast forward to my current role and everyday in one way or another I know my value as an Admin and I am thanked just about daily for being their support. On Admin Day I am usually sent a very lovely vase of flowers and repeatedly told thank you. For me, when my executives do this, it makes a statement to the rest of the office and managers that sometimes take my position for granted.
    Every person is different in what they want or expect out of this day/week/month; for me it’s more about being appreciated all the time and knowing my worth in my position. When you work with a great company and great people, you don’t necessarily need an Admin Day to be recognized.

  30. Kristin Dunstan

    I have been fortunate to have several bosses who have recognized my contribution to the team. I am working for two of them now. It makes all the difference in the world when your boss appreciates your skills and considers your input when making decisions.

  31. I have been an assistant for 45 years! The best gifts I can receive are the little things: hearing my boss tell other people she has the best assistant; continued thank you’s; notes of appreciation. It is nice when I receive chocolate! I have also received massage certificates which are great especially when we have had a stressful week!

  32. I would appreciate my boss supporting my professional development through conference attendance, webinars, books or career enhancing tools. I truly believe that actions along with the thank you means a lot.

  33. As long as it is a true heartfelt thank you, then I am fine with whatever way they wish to say it. I just don’t want it if they are doing it because someone else is giving their assistant something or because someone told them they should be giving me something because it is administrative professionals day. I have been an assistant for 28 years.

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