8 ways to deal with lack of recognition at work

A study by New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely’s shows that there is a direct correlation between employee motivation levels and theacknowledgement they receive for their work. 93% of employees at top organizations support non-cash rewards and recognition, and yet only three in 10 employees actually received such recognition at work in the course of a week. 

So how often do you feel that your work has gone unnoticed when you were actually expecting a word of appreciation from your manager or team mates? If the answer is – “quite often”, here are eight ways to help you deal with the situation.

1. Analyze the root cause

You need to be sure if your need for appreciation is more of an organizational issue or a personal one. According to a survey, 59% of employees said that getting recognized for their accomplishments is what gives them a sense of belonging at their workplace. Knowing the root cause of the issue will help you decide if you need to work more on yourself or if you need others to be a part of your problem-solving. Finding out whether the problem has to do with your organizational culture, team, manager, or yourself, will help you tackle the issue in a more focused way. 

2. Know what you need 

No two people are motivated by the same things.  In a survey of 1,600 employees 70% of workers identified opportunities for career growth as a form of recognition, whereas 44% identified rewards and recognition, and 37% identified pay-raise as the key factor. Knowing what constitutes the most effective form of recognition for you is an important prerequisite to communicating the same to those you seek recognition from. 

3. Be the first one to appreciate ‘You’

Feeling appreciated or recognized has a lot to do with one’s psyche. 88% of employees say they will stick longer with a workplace where their work is appreciated. So start dealing with a non-appreciative environment by giving yourself what you need. Once you identify what kind of appreciation works best for you, it is easier for you to create the same feeling for yourself. When you are no longer disturbed by the total lack of motivation, you can gradually start communicating your feelings to others.

4. Appreciate others too 

A positive work environment is the key to achieving higher efficiency. According to Hawthorne studies, a positive working environment is directly related to a company’s productivity. Acknowledge the need for recognition in others and respond to it, each time you see an opportunity. Genuinely appreciating other’s achievements will help you create an open channel that is beneficial for you as well as your teammates. 

5. Evaluate your performance objectively 

Insights from 2017 Gallup survey suggest that workers who feel adequately recognized for their work are half as likely to leave as compared to those who feel that they don’t. For you to know whether you are adequately recognized or not, it is important that you first objectively evaluate your contribution in helping your team achieve its business goals. Consider facts and figures and also compare your current performance with that in the past. This assessment will help you further in your discussion with your manager regarding the issue. 

6. Communicate with your manager 

59% of respondents in a survey say that they don’t receive appreciation from their bosses. Considering that your manager is largely the one to affect your recognition at work, this step is one of the most crucial ones in dealing with lack of recognition. Speaking up when you think that your work and efforts have gone unrecognized is important. Also, you cannot always expect your manager to know what motivates you. Clearly communicating the factors that make you feel demotivated at work can help you avoid a stressful situation at the workplace. 

7. Understand your boss’s perspective

About 80% of middle level employees, 62% of junior level employees, and 50% of senior level employees do not feel that their work is duly recognized. The data shows that lack of recognition can exist at almost any level of the hierarchy. It is important that you understand your manager’s expectations in terms of work, while you share your own in terms of appreciation. Discuss business goals and the expectations from your role to achieve it. This will help you do an assumption versus reality analysis to find where things need to be improved. If things do not improve even after you have put in a significant amount of effort, then you need to figure out a different way to solve the issue. 

8. Pitch in with your suggestions 

It is always good to add your own suggestions when you bring up a problem. 63% feel that they do not have any work recognition system in place. What, in your view, is a good system that recognizes the work of employees? You could come up with ideas such as weekly announcement of the team’s best performer, an exchange of appreciation notes among team members, a small awards ceremony, etc. while discussing ways to improve recognition at your workplace. 

In essence, it’s important to understand where you need to improve and where you deserve more than what you are being given. Working on your own towards achieving what you seek from your workplace can help you tackle the disappointment stemming from lack of recognition and grow personally as well. 

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