by Melany Hallam
Question: Do you feel valued for the work that you do? Yes/No/Somewhat
Believe it or not, money isn’t the only reward that people need in order to feel that they are valued at work. Yes, money sure helps but, in my own experience, my best paid position was one I left because I didn’t feel that my time or efforts were respected.
Looking back on it now, I realize that part of the problem was that I wasn’t good at communicating to managers my successes, compliments from clients or the sheer volume of work that I tackled every day. I just kept my head down and did the work. It turns out that this is exactly the wrong thing to do if you want to be recognized and valued by your boss.
There’s lots of career advice out there on how to toot your own horn without becoming known around the office as a braggart, such as:
- Only take credit for your own accomplishments (not that of others you work with or who work for you). That way, managers and co-workers will pay attention when you talk about what you’ve achieved.
- If someone you work with does a good job, say so. They may do the same for you one day.
- Stick to the facts, don’t exaggerate.
- When someone compliments you, say “Thank you”. Don’t minimize what you’ve achieved, and don’t be afraid to take credit for great work.
But feeling valued isn’t solely your own responsibility. A study out of Florida State University (FSU) (https://www.fsu.edu/news/2006/12/04/bad.boss/) several years ago found that the employee/boss relationship has a huge effect on job satisfaction and employee retention.
“They say that employees don’t leave their job or company, they leave their boss,” says study author Wayne Hochwarter, an associate professor of management in FSU’s College of Business.
The FSU research group surveyed more than 700 people working in a range of jobs about their opinions of supervisor treatment on the job. They found that:
- 37 percent reported that their boss failed to give credit when due
- 39 percent noted that their boss failed to keep promises
- 31 percent of respondents reported that their boss gave them the “silent treatment” in the past year
- 27 percent noted that their boss made negative comments about them to other employees or managers
- 24 percent reported that their boss invaded their privacy
- 23 percent indicated that their boss blames others to cover up mistakes or to minimize embarrassment
I don’t know about you, but no amount of money would be enough for me to put up with that sort of treatment on a regular basis. So if you’re feeling unappreciated at work, don’t ignore that feeling. It won’t go away by itself. Stop and assess what it is that you need to change. The solution could be as simple as asking for what you want (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201212/9-ways-ask-and-get-what-you-want). Remember, your boss may be completely unaware of your unhappiness – and she can’t say “Yes” if you don’t ask!
Here are some further readings and resources that might help:
- An article from The Glass Hammer on what to do when you feel undervalued at work, http://theglasshammer.com/2014/09/23/its-not-you-its-them-what-to-do-when-you-feel-undervalued-at-work/
- American Phsychological Association survey findings that US employers are unresponsive to employee needs, http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/03/employee-needs.aspx
- An article from The Muse on why employees leave their managers (and what managers can do about it), https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-reasons-employees-leave-their-managers
- An article from Forbes on what managers can do to show appreciation, http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/07/10/4-simple-ways-to-make-your-employees-feel-valued/#712833254dd6
- The Energy Project: research and resources aimed at creating workplaces that are healthier, happier, and sustainably higher performing, https://theenergyproject.com/