Today is Administrative Professionals’ Day, the day when bosses acknowledge the hard work accomplished by all the office managers, administrative assistants and receptionists out there.

This secular holiday – originally known as National Secretaries’ Day – was established in 1952. The idea was originated by Mary Barrett, then president of the National Secretaries Association (now known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals), and C. King Woodbridge, then president of Dictaphone Corp. to address a shortage of skilled office workers.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer proclaimed the first National Secretaries Week on June 1-7, 1952, designating Wednesday, June 4, as National Secretaries Day. The observance has since moved to the last week in April.

The special day is widely observed in many workplaces in the United States and in other countries around the world – for good reason. Appreciation goes a long way in the workplace. Caught up in the all-encompassing needs of running a small business, you might forget to express your appreciation to your staff members. Yet keeping staff happy and motivated is crucial.

As authors Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton report in their book How Full is Your Bucket? the number one reason employees leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated.

The authors report that those who do feel appreciated tend to increase productivity, have fewer accidents on the job, stay with the organization longer, and receive higher satisfaction scores from customers.

In a speech by former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, he told about sending a thank-you note to a corporal for a job well done. He didn’t think about it again until he went by the corporal’s office – where the note was framed and hung prominently.

Of course, you shouldn’t wait for Administrative Professionals’ Week to express your appreciation to employees. As authors Gary Chapman and Paul White emphasize in their book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, appreciation has to be communicated regularly and genuinely to your employees.

When you make appreciation a part of your culture, it translates to the way customers are treated. Employees will treat customers the same way they are treated – and, in the long run, everyone benefits.