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Feeling Underappreciated at Work? Read These 3 Steps!

Even if we love a job, working without recognition can leave us feeling disengaged and lowers our self-esteem. Contributing to a vision that doesn’t feel like it includes you is discouraging at best. At worst, it’s a reason to quit your job and find a role with a company that values you. 

If you’ve put in the hours, smashed out your KPIs and all you’re getting is crickets, it could be a sign that it’s time to look for a new job opportunity. In the current job market, where job boards are full of new roles, there’s no reason for skilled talent to stay at a job that’s not fulfilling or rewarding. 

If you’re happy in your role, paid reasonably well but feel there’s a lack of recognition for the goals that you’re kicking, here are a few steps that you can take to make some real changes happen.

Communicate

Even if it’s obvious that your manager’s recognition doesn’t match your effort, that doesn’t mean they’re snubbing you on purpose. Managing can stretch a person thin. Pre-COVID, if you felt neglected at work, you weren’t alone. Managers are busy, and in the era of remote workers, when our interactions are centred on screens, it’s no easier to lead a team effectively.

Your manager is not a mind reader.  Instead of stewing, let them know how you’re feeling. Suggest a 1:1 coffee catch up?  In fact, schedule weekly 15 min WIPs. 

Ask for regular, constructive feedback ­­­– F2F, over email or via surveys sent to your manager. Whatever works!

Get a plan together

If a conversation or a weekly WIP isn’t enough to resolve the issue, take a step back and work on Plan B. What do you need from your workplace? What’s missing? Do you feel visible enough within your company? Are you clear on what you need to do to work towards a promotion?

Sit down with your manager and discuss your career goals. If you are feeling underappreciated, or like your efforts are ignored, what steps can you both take to remedy the situation? A plan will make it clear when and where things need to change and might prompt positive shifts that you hadn’t considered?  Do you want recognition from your immediate manager or from other senior staff as well? What can your manager do to boost your visibility in your company? What actions can you both take that will give you the confidence others see your work and recognize your effort?

Consider what you are ultimately after: feedback? A pay increase? A promotion? New title? More autonomy on projects? Bigger clients/budgets? Recognition comes in different forms, and it’s important to figure out what matters to YOU.

Moving On

With or without those WIPs, though, things may stay the same. We can sit on our hands, waiting for others to change all we want, but if you’re not seeing a difference, it’s time to take your talents elsewhere.

Create a timeline with your manager. Give them a firm date and make it clear what you need from them by then. If, after a couple of months, that sense of invisibility isn’t changing, it’s time your job title did. No manager is important enough to ignore the people who work for them, and your work deserves to be noticed. In today’s job market, talent has all the power, and if you feel neglected at your current company, now’s the time to make your move.