When Employee Appreciation Doesn’t Come with the Job

By Robert Half on October 23, 2014 at 7:00am

You’ve poured energy and time — overtime in fact — into a project without an ounce of recognition to show for it, and you’re not feeling very good about it. Just once, you think, can't the boss show even a little employee appreciation?

You're not alone: HR managers polled for a Robert Half survey placed failure to recognize employee achievements near the top of the list of demoralizing factors for their teams. Some workers agree: A more recent Robert Half survey found that three in 10 workers think their employer is ineffective at showing appreciation to staff. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to address your feelings of hurt. Here are five suggestions if you feel you’re not getting the recognition you deserve:

1. Gauge the situation

You may not be the only one at your firm who feels undervalued. Ask your colleagues if they feel the same way, but be discreet. Refrain from being negative or casting blame on anyone, especially your boss. News through the grapevine travels fast, and you don’t want to make the situation worse for yourself. However, you can keep your ears open. You may find that your coworkers are in the same boat and that showing appreciation for employees is simply not your employer’s strength.

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2. Do a gut check

If you do find you’re the only one who’s unhappy, identify what would make you feel more appreciated: Do you want a raise or public recognition? Or just a pat-on-the-back email from the boss? Whatever it is, make sure that it’s realistic to expect, especially from your boss, and that your desire for it is emotionally healthy. You may discover you need to address some personal insecurity. Think about your job and why you’re doing it. It should be for the work itself or for what the work provides for you, not necessarily for praise.

3. Discuss the problem

True, talking with your boss about how you feel unappreciated is difficult. Make it easier and more productive by staying composed and not casting blame. Speak for yourself, not your colleagues, and be objective as you tell your boss how you feel. Don’t turn it into a therapy session. Instead, discuss what you have accomplished and what feedback you’ve received. Then, ask how the two of you can solve the problem by coming up with ways to make you feel more engaged at work.

4. Keep your boss up-to-date

You may be your own worst enemy. If your boss and colleagues don’t know what you’re doing, how do you expect them to show appreciation for your hard work? Make sure your boss knows what you’re working on and let people know when you complete a big project. But don’t come across as someone who craves attention. If you feel that no one appreciates you, think about when you’ve taken the time to appreciate others. Help create a positive corporate culture.

5. Be patient

Not many of us always receive the appreciation we feel we deserve. Be patient. Although you grind away each day at your job, you boss and colleagues are working hard, too. Try not to do anything drastic on a whim when you feel unappreciated. Drastic measures are often seen as acts of desperation and can quickly backfire. Continue to work hard and recognize when others do the same.

What makes you feel like you’re not appreciated at work? Let us know in the comments section.

Read more about how to get employee appreciation

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