Administrative Professional’s Day falls on the same Wednesday of the last full week of April every year.
Long gone are the days when this day was known simply as National Secretaries Day. For never the right reasons, secretaries seemed to be perceived “lesser-than” because of that title. It seemed they only typed and answered the telephone.
Now they have risen in profile and respect by their new title of office and administrative professional.
But how should leaders show their appreciation for their administrative professional?
Each of us are unique human beings and are truly works-in-progress.
I would never expect that each person who writes and sends an anniversary or career milestone ecard, or any ecard, look exactly the same way. That would make them impersonal and insincere.
However, the recent experience of reaching my 15th year with Engage2Excel, previously known as Rideau Inc., provided some wonderful insights to learn from with the emails or ecards that I received from leaders and peers alike.
Let’s look at some messages sent to me and learn some practical principles when expressing recognition in writing on a long-service anniversary.
It has been over 25-years ago since Dr. Bob Nelson originated Employee Appreciation Day on the first Friday in March.
There was a two-fold purpose for originating this day.
Bob says it was to help managers better value their employees.
It also coincided with the release of his book, then titled, 1,001 Ways to Reward Employees.
So, even with that brief history of the founding of Employee Appreciation Day, has it really changed things in the workplace? Is Employee Appreciation Day different from any other day of the work week?
Heading every organization is a senior leadership team.
They play a critical role in providing strategic and operational leadership for your organization. And they also play an essential role in representing the organizational culture and showing what leadership should look like, by how they interact with one another and with employees.
They often leave your task to “read minds” on how each leader thinks about recognition. Hopefully, you have an exemplary executive sponsor who is a cheerleader and champion for the cause of employee recognition to draw upon.
But in a general sense, how do you find out what each of your executive leaders think about recognition?
Knowing the right things to say is critical for giving authentic, meaningful recognition. Expressions like, “I want you to know how much I appreciate your help today with finalizing ABC’s incentive program launch. You saved the day for us, Kim, by getting everything ready to go,” makesuse of all the right words. Check out the Top 10 Powerful Words below for crafting amazing recognition and tune up how you give recognition.
When you get
involved in a specific discipline and area of practice like employee
recognition, you end up grappling with how to define things that fit your frame
At the same time
you hope you can engage others is seeing things as you do and accepting the
definitions you develop.
Such was the
case with defining recognition when I first began speaking and training on the
topic in the mid-nineties.
industrial company in Canada invited me to meet with them because they had just
reviewed their employee engagement survey results. As is often the case, the
responses to the questions addressing employee recognition were not so good.
first consultative meeting together I asked the leaders responsible for
employee recognition what they were doing regarding recognizing employees.
Following hearing about their existing programs and their total rewards
strategy, I asked them if what they were doing was real recognition.
That’s when one of them sincerely asked me, what is “real recognition”?
manager ever recognized you in a way you really didn’t
While not by my
manager, I can recall twice where people recognized me in not
the best way.
Each of these
poor recognition events proved the person responsible for recognizing me had
done no homework. In addition, it might well have been the individual
transferring their own preference on to how they recognized me. And, I also
think one was a cheap, quick and easy way out.
is I did not feel properly recognized.
Have you seen
employees disappointed or feeling a lack of respect with how they’re
acknowledged and recognized?
We will discover
ways for finding out how people want to be recognized.
alluded to two occasions where I received depersonalized recognition that meant
nothing to me? Let me share those experiences with you so we can learn from
A subscriber of our Authentic Recognition blog suggested I should
write about the difference between
recognition (more related to work) versus appreciation (more related to the
I asked them why this topic was
important right now. It seems their organization uses the Gallup Organization’s
Q12 engagement survey every two years. In the past year they focused on the
recognition specific question/statement #4, “In the last seven days, I have
received recognition or praise for doing good work”.
Her research, like many of us have found, led her to see that
“recognition in the workplace” has so many meanings.
She wisely observes that “people fundamentally want to be
‘understood and cared for’ or ‘appreciated’ and would prefer that over ‘recognition’”
She asked for my thoughts on the
differences between recognition and appreciation. Apparently, her
organization will likely continue with using recognition. However, she wonders
if more time should be spent on appreciation instead of recognition in order to
improve the Gallup survey scores.
How good are you at giving recognition? Do you feel like your attempts to praise and acknowledge people are hitting the mark?
Maybe you are already good at appreciating people for who they are and recognizing them for what they do.
Each of us will be naturals at recognizing people or have a lot of things still to learn. But what is good for those of you, who feel they are not so confident or competent at giving recognition, is that recognition is a learned behavior. Phew! We all have a chance at getting better at this skill, which is a highly ranked need of employees.
Consider your own strengths and weaknesses in giving meaningful and effective recognition. Do you know what you do well? Where should you begin? (more…)