Dear People Ops,
I hope you can help me with this. I never feel recognized at work, by my managers, co-workers or company co-founder. I work hard, putting in more than 40 hours a week and delivering my projects way before deadline, but at best someone on Slack will say "thanks" once in awhile. Is this normal? Should I look for a new job or can I do something to improve the situation?
We grow up in a culture of praise. The other day I overheard a mom at the park applauding her son; "what an amazing sandcastle", "that was such a high jump", "thank you for putting away your toys so well". As adults we continue to crave recognition for our contribution and hard work. Everyone feels the need to be recognized as an individual or member of a group and to feel a sense of achievement for work well done or even for a valiant effort. Everyone wants a ‘pat on the back’ to make them feel good.
Traditionally, we've linked recognition and financial reward (salary). But people are motivated by much more than money. Its important that co-founders, managers and HR departments build cultures of recognition within their companies. Not convinced? Harvard Business Review reports "Recognizing Employees Is the Simplest Way to Improve Morale", and a shocking "40% of employed Americans say they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often."
And, at the same time its important for you as an employee to know how to advocate for recognition for your accomplishments. Because, even in the best workplace, you are your own best advocate.
So how can you advocate for your own recognition? Start by embracing the idea that being too humble can cost you; “It’s those who visibly take credit for accomplishments who are rewarded with promotions and gem assignments”. Business Insider provides some excellent tips for how to take credit for your accomplishments - from using humor to finding a wingman to self promote for you.
And how can managers and HR professionals build a culture of recognition in their companies? Start be embracing recognition as a key part of company culture. Forbes outlines five ways to build recognition into the fabric of your company including being sure to share praise effort in the moment and keeping your praise authentic. And be sure to take special time to recognize employees who don't self-promote. They are the most vulnerable to leaving because of lack of recognition.
The goal? A world where everyone gets recognized, and by more than just a gift card on your work anniversary.
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