For admins, the work never ends. Administrative professionals fill key office management functions every day – tasks that go unnoticed (until they’re not done).

Admins are the unsung heroes of the workplace – the glue that holds an office together. Every week should be Administrative Professionals Week!

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“Corporate social responsibility” has become a popular concept and buzzword, driving many companies to reach out to the communities that surround them. Admins often lead those efforts. Example: At Imperial Sugar Company’s sugar refinery, admin Charmaine Ordeneaux recently co-chaired a fundraising effort for the American Cancer Society.

How do admins bring value to their roles? We asked administrative assistant Eileen Behr, who recently won the 2010 OfficeTeam Administrative Excellence Award. Here’s how she brings a “value-added” focus to her job:
As an HR professional, you have an open door. And you’re always encouraging employees to ask questions about their benefits. But sometimes, that door needs to be shut … and so should your mouth. As a new lawsuit shows, repeating even the question asked by an employee can trigger a multi-claim lawsuit …
A former clerical worker is suing a San Francisco Bay Area-based trucking company, claiming he was harassed and subsequently fired for asking about medical benefits for his same-sex partner.

Administrative pros looking for a way to stretch their skills often turn toward certification. But do the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) and Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) ratings help you advance your career? Or command a higher salary? Are they worth the work and cost?

Whether it’s a speedy way to create a bar chart or a trick for switching from one window to the next, keyboard shortcuts can help even power users knock out work faster. Here are a few of our readers’ faves:
Following a speaking engagement for administrative professionals, I found myself listening to familiar comments. “My supervisor is so busy I never get a chance to have more than a two-minute conversation, and she never gives me feedback, so I never know what she is thinking.” In these circumstances you need to ask for what you need to be successful.

At Progress Energy’s quarterly “compliments and concerns” meeting, senior administrative assistant Amy Finelli uses a template for minute taking. As a result, she can quickly send out notes after the meeting “because I don’t have to figure out how to organize the topics,” she says. Here are a few more of Finelli’s power tools for meetings:

The demand for highly skilled assistants has increased the past several years, as shareholders and customers demand greater access to executives. Among the most desired: assistants with tech savvy and “demonstrated longevity.” In other words, admins who have built over time a strong working relationship with their executive bosses.

Would your company’s leaders benefit from hearing more feedback and ideas from employees? If the answer is yes, here’s a strategy to suggest to them: a rewards program that doles out prizes for the best ideas offered by employees.
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