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Career Monday: Tired of Working Without Recognition?

Employees want it, managers know it’s important, and it usually doesn’t cost a dime. When you look at it that way, you’d expect to be drowning in recognition at work.

Yet, a recent Gallup poll showed that lack of workplace appreciation is a major concern among employees.

It’s not that surprising when you think about the possible reasons. Some of your coworkers could feel too competitive to notice you. Your boss could think that keeping you on the payroll proves they’re satisfied with your performance, and any of your colleagues could be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with handing out praise.

If you want to feel valued, you may need to shake things up. Start with these suggestions for creating more recognition for yourself and your colleagues.

Giving Recognition to Others:

If you encourage a more grateful and caring office culture, some of the benefits are bound to come your way. Plus, you’ll avoid the potential pitfalls of conspicuous self-promotion.

1. Share credit. Put your ego aside and show that you’re interested in the whole team. If you acknowledge others’ contributions, they’re more likely to do the same for you.

2. Praise skillfully. Specific feedback is more effective than general statements. Recognize your coworkers for their negotiation skills or marketing savvy instead of just saying that they did a great job. Remember that sincerity counts too.

3. Support formal programs. If your employer has established recognition programs, learn the details and participate enthusiastically. You may be the next employee of the month.

4. Socialize more. Ensure you get to know your colleagues. Take time out for small talk and listen closely to what they have to say. Communicate in person rather than relying on email and texts.

5. Build your network. Develop a habit of helping others. Nurturing relationships will give you allies who believe in your abilities and talents.

Gaining Recognition for Yourself:

You can still call attention to your accomplishments in a constructive way. Learn how to increase your visibility without having to brag.

1. Ask for feedback. Find out what others think of your performance. Constructive feedback helps you to learn and grow.

2. Track your achievements. Document your victories on a regular basis so you’re ready to show how your work makes a difference. Come up with compelling stories to make your experiences interesting to share on social media or your next job evaluation.

3. Stay updated. Be knowledgeable and informed about your industry. Read annual reports and news stories. Attend conferences and networking events.

4. Accept compliments graciously. When you do receive recognition, take advantage of the opportunity. Express your gratitude and let others know that they’ve brightened your day. Enjoy your moment in the sun without feeling self-conscious.

5. Talk with your boss. Work at having a strong and positive relationship with your supervisor. Clarify their priorities and make them your own.

6. Expand your role. Pay attention to how your position fits into the bigger picture. Think strategically and look for ways to take on more responsibility. Volunteer for high-profile projects or serve on a committee with coworkers you want to get to know better.

7. Project confidence. You’re more likely to receive recognition if you believe in your own worth. Stand tall and minimize nervous gestures. Make eye contact and speak up at meetings.

Unconditional self-esteem is the most profound recognition you can receive at work or home, but it’s nice to know that your colleagues appreciate you too. Being acknowledged for your contributions makes your job more enjoyable and increases your chances for advancement.

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