As secretaries’ duties expand, so should bosses

Here's a riddle for you:

1.      Which job constitutes the largest single segment of the office workforce?

2.      And is expected to see a growth rate of 12 percent over the next decade?

3.      And has it's own special week celebrating the profession?

You guessed it: Secretaries!

National Secretaries Week is April 24 - 30, with April 27th as National Secretaries Day. These hard-working professionals are the backbone of most bustling offices (...and in many cases they actually RUN the place!)

This year, why not give your secretary or administrative assistant a professional gift, worthy of their professionalism.

Although candy and flowers are nice, they seem to miss the mark when it comes to truly recognizing the enormous contribution they make. Think about it. With corporate downsizing, more secretaries are expected to pick up duties and responsibilities they never had before. As companies are restructuring to operate more efficiently, they are delegating more technical and supervisory responsibilities to secretaries.

According to a survey by the Professional Secretaries International, over 95 percent of all secretaries are using word processing software vs. 1987. Three-fourths are using spreadsheet software (up from 27 percent in 1987) and almost 50 percent use database software. And almost 20 percent are doing desktop publishing. Clearly, secretaries have come a long way from typing and filing.

Another significant change for almost 50 percent of all secretaries surveyed is their new management responsibilities. Many are now supervising other people and training them.

So what should you do for your secretary to celebrate Secretaries Day? Why not offer to sit down with him or her and do some career planning? Offer to pay for training in managerial skills or technical skills.

If you want to give a gift, why not make it more professional? (Of course nothing is stopping you from throwing in some flowers and taking her out to lunch, too!) Here are some ideas offered by Professional Secretaries International, the originators and sole sponsors of the event.

·        Additional training in computers, supervising others, communication, or other skill area

·        Support to apply for the Certified Professional Secretary Certification.

·        Pay dues for membership in a professional organization such as PSI

·        New computer software or computer-related equipment

·        Some new office furniture or a budget to go out and buy something for his or her office area

·        Personal business cards

·        A briefcase

·        Desktop nameplate

·        A professional appointment calendar

·        A gift certificate to a business clothing store

There are over 4 million secretaries in the United States. Why not make your secretary feel like one of the lucky ones who have a boss who recognizes their professional contribution and value to you and your organization?

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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