Photo of a female admin receiving an Administrative Professionals Day gift

5 Tips For A Great Administrative Professionals Day Gift

Your administrative professional knows all about you… exactly how late you’re likely to be for your next meeting, which interruptions you welcome any time, and – even if you carefully separate your personal and work lives – when something’s going on at home, based on how often your partner has called today. 

This year, Administrative Professionals Day is Wednesday April 26th. Don’t miss this opportunity to appreciate your admin and demonstrate that you know a little something about them, too.

Even with the best of intentions, buying for administrative professionals can be challenging. As Victoria Rabin, CEO of the Executive Assistants Organization explains, “Executive assistants are tough to buy for as they are professional gift buyers” themselves. Moreover, it can be difficult to figure out which staff members to recognize on the holiday. You risk causing hurt feelings when someone isn’t recognized but wanted to be, and even greater damage when someone didn’t realize that they were seen as support staff.

There’s even a movement to do away with what many consider an antiquated tradition from an era when largely female “secretaries” could expect flowers one day a year in lieu of a living wage and year-round respect. As Alison Green, author of “How to Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager” writes, “plenty of managers spot how the holiday is patronizing the very people who they want to value, but worry they’ll offend their assistants or make them feel unvalued if they don’t recognize the day in some way. It’s on the calendar, after all, and people know about it! And so the cycle is perpetuated, even though people on both sides of the exchange are often feeling awkward and uncomfortable about it.”

With this in mind, here’s our advice on how to navigate these potentially disaster-fraught waters:

How to find the right gift for your administrative professional

Tip #1: Do something.

As the saying goes, don’t waste a crisis. Tempting as it is to ignore the day altogether, consider Administrative Professionals Day an opportunity to reinforce your relationships with your support team. If it’s not crystal clear who’s “support staff,” why not thank all of your direct reports with a team lunch, or give everyone a small-value coffee card? It will build team morale and establish that you’re a thoughtful, modern manager, not a stingy ingrate.

Tip #2: Plan to spend $25-$50 per gift.

When buying specifically for admins and receptionists, $25-$50 is the typical price range for an Administrative Professionals Day gift. If your office plans to pool their resources toward a group gift or a special out-of-office experience for your admin, it’s appropriate to spend a bit more. 

Tip #3: Keep it professional.

Nix the flowers and stay away from gender-stereotyped or overtly personal gifts. Instead, look for items such as food, wine, or desk supplies. Keep in mind that your admins have your career success as their goal. Your thank you gift should acknowledge their professional impact.

Tip #4: Show some recognition.

  • Do they show up every morning with a latte in hand? A re-useable travel mug and a bag of specialty coffee are a thoughtful nod to their favorite pick-me-up. 

    Coffee gift with whole bean coffee, travel mug, and chocolate espresso candies.

    Bring Your Own Brew

  • Do they usually look for a light snack around 3 in the afternoon? Treat them to a collection of gourmet items they won’t have to share with hungry coworkers. 

    Administrative Professionals Day gift basket with gourmet Northwest snacks

    Gourmet Snack Assortment

  • You know they spend a lot of time at their desk. This gift will help make it a lovely place to be, even on their longest and most challenging day. 

    A coral pink BKR water bottle and blue Moleskine journal with a clip-on pen and Lollia shea butter handcreme

    Stylish Desk Staples

  • Chocolate lover? That’s an easy one. 

    A collection of Northwest chocolate bars, caramels, and truffles for a chocolate lover's gift

    The Joy Of Cocoa

Tip #5: Develop a “signature gift” as a fallback plan.

If you’re at a loss for time or information, develop a “signature gift” that reflects you. David Perry, CMO of University of Utah Health Care, for example, is famous for handing out Louisville Slugger mini-bats and treats from his beloved hometown. Not only are these gifts fun and personal to him, they also reflect his management style. A signature gift will also prevent you from being caught empty-handed whenever you need a quick business “thank you” for colleagues or clients.

These easy tips can make Administrative Professionals Day a success in your office. After all, a majority of those polled in a 2015 Staples Survey said that the most important person in their company isn’t the president or CEO–it’s their all-knowing, invaluable admin!

Inspired? Shop and customize ideas from our Admin Day gift collection here!