The first year, it was both my secondary managers, and quite a bit of cash. It was awesome, and I really felt appreciated by them. (I also got presents from some of the individual employees, which really meant a lot.) My other manager, who did not give me a gift that year, kind of dimmed. Did I not do a good job? I had been working hard and thought I'd done very well, but not getting a gift left me with this kind of... tenseness. If I couldn't make my primary manager happy, even though the others were happy, I must be doing a bad job.
The second year, I got a gift from one secondary group and my primary group. I was overjoyed! My primary must have finally been pleased with my performance. The one secondary group must have also been pleased, and that was fantastic. That same year, I'd temporarily supported a huge number of people in another pair of groups, and I got a small gift from them, so I was pleased with that - I felt like I'd done something. But the other group didn't give me a gift, and I was worried. Had I been declining in my ability to support them? What had I done wrong? What changed? I was so anxious about it. It still bugs me, even now, a year later.
This year, I've received a gift from my primary group and one of the employees in the secondary group, but the secondary group (now my only other group) as a whole didn't even get me a card. I feel as though maybe I'm not doing a good enough job. The worst part is that I'll never know what I did wrong. Performance reviews don't address why I didn't get a gift. Gifts are for employees who are well-liked and whose work is worth it.
Not getting a gift at the holiday as an admin is just kind of like a big frowny-face on your report card. It says that I did a bad enough job that they can't bother with me, or that they care so little about my efforts that they just simply forgot.
The worst part is, whenever I first started working here, I was shocked to get a gift. I didn't get accustomed to it or anything, it was more that I understood the meaning - the admins who are very well liked - you know, the perky, happy, perfect ones) get tons of gifts. They get gifts when their employees and managers travel. They get gifts when holidays come around - admin day and Christmas.
The sporadic nature of my gifting makes me paranoid. It makes me think I'm not good enough, and I see it happen to other admins, too. It's not a matter of spoiling or bribing - it's a matter of showing appreciation. Most admins make less than half of what the employees at companies make, so it's not like they can't use every dollar they get. We don't often get bonuses, and while we appreciate every penny we make, we appreciate small gestures almost as much.
I'm not saying give a ridiculous amount. I'm not saying it has to just be the manager - taking up a collection is a brilliant idea. It doesn't even have to be a gift. Cash works great, gift cards are awesome, but even a card would make us feel like we did something. Like you think of us. It makes us feel connected to our work. Without that connection, we start to lose faith in our work, and our quality of work suffers.
Show appreciation, and we'll show you just how much support we can provide.