What To Give–And What Not To Give–Your Administrative Assistant:

In part 3 of our Administrative Professionals Day gifting series, we’ll address common gifting mistakes that could put a damper on the day, along with solutions for a foolproof employee gifting strategy.

Let’s start with a refresher course on what NOT to buy for Administrative Professionals Day, so you can avoid potential missteps and get to the fun part–picking out a great gift for your admin–with confidence.

Follow these easy gifting guidelines for a can’t-fail admin gift:

Tip #1: Don’t give anything worn close to the body

  • This includes jewelry, perfume, or items of clothing. Even if your administrative professional somehow happens to be your spouse (hey, family businesses have admins too!), this day is about acknowledging their work, and these items are inappropriate for the occasion.

Tip #2: Don’t give flowers

  • Interestingly, nothing ranked lower than flowers in terms of employees’ most requested gifts in our 2018 survey. So if employees don’t want them, why give them?  
  • Flowers are also viewed as a highly personal, even romantic gift – think Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day – is that the message you want to send to a “professional”?  
  • Finally, if you guess wrong about who sees themselves as “administrative” there’s nothing like a bouquet of flowers perched on someone’s desk all day to embarrass both of you.

Tip #3: Don’t give company-logoed items

Is it a gift or marketing swag? Because honestly, your employees are smarter than that.  

  • Gifts of logoed items are at least 60% less likely to be considered memorable than non-logoed gifts.  
  • Women are less likely to approve of gift items with logos, with only 21% characterizing them as desirable or very desirable, vs. 31% for male employees.
  • Age is also a factor: only 21% of employees over 40 characterize logoed items as desirable or very desirable, vs. 36% for employees under 40.

What To Buy To Celebrate Your Admin:

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of creative, appropriate gifts to celebrate Administrative Professionals Day. Here’s what you should look for when you need the perfect present for your support staff.

Items that stress the “professional” in Administrative Professional

This is, after all, what the day is about. The good news is that, depending on your industry, the perfect gift may be obvious:

  • Membership in professional organizations or admission to a relevant industry conference can be excellent gifts that emphasize their professional contribution to the workplace and your willingness to invest in their success.  
  • Items such as leather journals, gorgeous pens, desk accessories and other tools can be a nice way to add luxury, convenience or fun to their work day.

Gift cards, given with style

You can’t go wrong with all-purpose gift cards as a way to recognize employees on almost any day.

  • Gift cards are the top choice of employees of all ages and genders, although particularly so for women over 40.
  • The only downside is that they may be quickly forgotten – with less than 40% of employees saying that gift cards are “very memorable.”

Items that show you’ve been paying attention to them as well

Your administrative professional may know almost everything about you; this is your opportunity to pay them the same compliment, as long as you keep it professional.

  • Can you think of something that will enhance their experience in the office? If they’re always complaining about the noise or untangling their earbuds, maybe some Bluetooth buds are just the ticket.
  • Do you know enough about their personal life to give them something to enhance their time outside the office? Tread carefully and select a gift related to the category (e.g. music, gardening, biking), not a specific item they might not be able to use.

Food and wine gifts

Gifts of food (and wine, if you know they drink wine) are universally acceptable in the business gifting world and widely preferred by employees in our 2018 Business Gifting Survey.

  • The trick to making food gifts “very memorable” is to use a 3-to-1 ratio of consumables to non-consumables – so consider adding something useful like a tea towel, cheese knife, serving bowl, corkscrew or cheese board to your food gifts to create a gift that they’ll remember long after the food has been consumed.

When in doubt, give the gift of something you like:

It’s universally flattering to a gift recipient to know that the giver is sharing something they like, and even more so when that person is the boss. This can include anything from favorite treats to favorite office tools, but the key is for you to communicate why this item is your favorite and why you thought they’d like it, too.

Need help? Our account specialists have an almost supernatural sense for helping you pick out the perfect gift for your employees–and they can handle the “getting it done” details as well.

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