How To Get The Appreciation You Want At Work

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Many people feel underappreciated at work. Why? Perhaps the organization does not have a culture that promotes appreciation. Maybe everyone constantly feels under the gun and no one has time to stop and say thank you. You may ask, "How long does it take to say thank you?"

The reality is, in many workplaces, "thank you" is not automatic, and cannot be expected. In the cut-throat environment where many people toil away every day, it takes a lot more than a job well done to attain the acknowledgement or reward you'd like to see.

In honor of Employee Appreciation Day on Friday, March 7, here are tips to get the recognition you deserve when you feel underappreciated at work. (Tweet this thought.)

Identify the stars at your organization and follow their leads.

Once you figure out who's doing a great job getting recognition at your workplace, you can leverage that knowledge for your own benefit. Did someone get a huge shout out at the last staff meeting?


Identify key factors that often lead to recognition. For example, what accomplishment led to the appreciation? Perhaps the organization has more of a tendency to appreciate extra effort; is going above and beyond the call of duty needed to attract appreciation? Is someone appreciated in your office because he or she is a really helpful person to have around in a crisis?

Different organizations value different characteristics at work. Once you see where the bar is set in your organization for recognition, you know what you need to strive to achieve.

Offer insights instead of complaining.

No one likes a complainer. Like it or not, if you have a reputation for always being a downer at work, it's going to be difficult to achieve much in the way of recognition. That's not to say you necessarily have to be a "yes man or woman," either. Be aware of your attitude and keep it in check if you have a tendency to spout off about every single thing that annoys you. That includes comments on social media, especially if you are connected in any way to anyone connected to your workplace.

Keep in mind: your privacy settings are only as good as your least loose-lipped friend.

Be a problem solver.

What's the biggest problem your organization or team faces right now? If you can help take major steps to help solve the problem, or come up with a way to solve it altogether, you will earn recognition. If you still don't feel appreciated, you may be in the wrong job.

Network in and outside of the office.

Sometimes, appreciation comes hand-in-hand with relationships. If you've been skipping team nights out or prefer to lunch alone, maybe it's time to make a change and to try to get to know some of the people at work. If you're not a social person, consider it research instead of socializing. Make it your business to determine what's most important (in and outside of the office) to your colleagues – and your boss, if possible. You may be surprised to find that a few well-placed lunch appointments can yield interesting information that may help you attract the appreciation you deserve.

Join professional or volunteer organizations.

While it may not specifically land you appreciation AT work, when you volunteer for your professional association, it's very likely you'll have an opportunity to receive some kudos and the "thank you's" you want at work. A side benefit, you'll have the opportunity to network with people who can get to know you and your work ethic. Those contacts are key when it's time to find a new job.

Ask for it.

While it's not ideal, perhaps you need to ask for recognition in your workplace. That includes requesting a promotion, a raise or other benefits when appropriate. (Such as after a huge win.) If you don't get any feedback at all from your boss, request a review. Create a list of your accomplishments and ask for what you want.

It's possible that you work in a place where the culture is to believe providing a paycheck is thank you enough. If that's not a good fit for you, after you've taken these steps and still aren't satisfied, it's time to find a new job where you'll feel more appreciated.

Originally published