Ever been frustrated by a lack of recognition at work? You’re not alone. We all want to get a pat on the back (or more) for hard work or extra effort, and sometimes it feels like we’re toiling away in obscurity. This feeling can be especially strong among administrative staff, who often function as the unsung heroes of the office.
What can you do if rewards and recognition are few and far between at your workplace? Perhaps more than you think. Here are several specific steps you can take to get the recognition at work that you deserve.
Claim the credit
If you finish a difficult task, take on a special project, or go above and beyond to ensure a key assignment is completed, be sure to take credit when it’s being doled out. Your natural inclination may be to deflect the attention and point out the contributions of others — you don’t want to look like an attention hog, after all. But you’ll do yourself a disservice if you pass the buck at this point.
You don’t want to take credit for others’ work, of course. But if you don’t claim the credit you’re due, how will higher-ups be aware of the value you add? It may feel slightly uncomfortable, but don’t hesitate to grab the spotlight when it’s headed your way.
One important point: Be humble, gracious and graceful when accepting praise. A simple “thank you” or “I appreciate the recognition” is more appropriate than a long-winded or insincere response.
Keep your boss in the loop
In order to get rewards and recognition at work, you may have to do a little personal PR by talking about the contributions you’ve made.
No matter how much you and your boss communicate, chances are high that she does not know the ins and outs of every project or task you work on. The PowerPoint she asked you to “quickly pull together” may have required input from three different department heads, research to update outdated information and a late-night session to ensure the formatting was consistent throughout the presentation.
Make sure your manager is aware of these types of details, especially for projects she did not assign to you directly. It can be as simple as adding your boss to an email string under the cc: line or giving her a two-minute summary during your regular touch-base meeting.
Communicate small and large accomplishments throughout the year so you can demonstrate constant value. Don’t save everything up for your annual performance review.
You’re not going to get recognition at work if no one knows who you are. It’s much more likely that your colleagues and supervisors will show appreciation for your contributions if you have an existing relationship with them and they know you on a first-name basis as opposed to “the administrative assistant in the sales department.”
So make the effort to get to know your colleagues. It’s probably easier than you think. Saying hi to people you pass in the hallways, showing up to office celebrations, taking part in group events, speaking up in meetings and similar small things are all very effective ways of making a name for yourself.
Understand the rules of the road
One reason you may not be getting recognition at work could be because you are not taking advantage of programs and processes in place to reward administrative employees.
If your company has a formal employee recognition program, be sure you understand who is eligible to receive rewards and recognition, what criteria are taken into account, and what you must do to be considered for an award.
Look to those on the administrative team who are frequently recognized through staff appreciation programs and consider what they do to earn such notice. Can you model their behavior or the steps they take?
The best way to earn recognition at work? Be good at what you do. Specifically, aim to become the expert or go-to person on the team when it comes to a particular task or issue. Maybe have a knack for negotiating good deals with vendors, for example. Or you’re the person everyone calls for expert Outlook tips.
Whatever your specialty is, raise your hand whenever a related need arises. Your boss and your coworkers will surely notice.
Consider this the Golden Rule of the office: Recognize others as you would like to be recognized.
Above all, thanking others for their hard work and making sure they earn the rewards and recognition they deserve is simply a nice thing to do. And it helps you build important relationships with your colleagues.
How does this help you get recognition at work? Recognizing others encourages others to take the same attitude toward staff appreciation and increases the likelihood they return the favor when you do something noteworthy.
Want to know what it takes to succeed as an administrative professional (and earn extra recognition at work)? Check out our free webinar “An Insider’s Guide to Success in the Changing Administrative Profession” today.