A recent survey by the international consulting firm, BlessingsWhite revealed that overall employee engagement at work is directly tied to how much an employee feels they are appreciated by their manager and the company executives. In these challenging economic times it is easy for leaders to overlook the needs of their employees because they are so focused on profitability and survival. This may manifest itself in a failure to recognize and reward achievements, provide resources necessary to do the job, provide feedback on performance, and ask for input on projects and initiatives.
The survey outlined specific steps for managers and leaders to take in order to help get their teams engaged but it failed to layout an action plan for what employees can do when they find themselves unappreciated and disengaged. I invite you to consider the following action steps to help you if you are feeling unappreciated at work.
- Reconnect with your purpose. Your purpose answers the question, Why am doing what I am doing each day at work? Is it for the verbal affirmation you receive from others, is it for the money, or is it for the impact your are having on others? Perhaps you've forgotten your "big why", if so, recommit to it today.
- Identify what makes you feel appreciated. We are all so different when it comes to what makes us feel appreciated. For some it is pay increases, for others it is public or private recognition of their efforts, for others it is simply knowing that you made a difference and helped someone. Reflect on what makes you feel appreciated. Write down a list of 3-5 actions and then analyze this list to make sure what you've written is emotionally healthy and realistic to expect from others, especially your boss.
- Commit to sharing your gifts and talents with others at work. Take a look around you and identify people that you can impact right away with your gifts and talents. Look to serve others and use your gifts and talents without an expectation of anything in return. Take action, speak into someone's life, help someone with a project, go the extra mile. You may feel like your already doing this but if you are disengaged and feeling unappreciated you might be doing it with a heavy heart and it probably shows in your performance.
- Consult with a trusted advisor. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our emotions and the dysfunction we witness at work that we lose sight of healthy and appropriate expectations. A friend, mentor, or coach is a great person to speak into our lives and give us guidance in these situations.
- Meet with your boss to explain how you're feeling. The toughest action step is to share your concerns with your boss. From experience I will tell you that you want to make sure you don't go in and simply complain to your boss. Rather, take the time to share your concerns, outline how you feel appreciated, and ask if the two of you could brainstorm ways to help you feel appreciated resulting in a higher engagement level at work. In essence come in with a framework for discovering a solution to the problem.
- Identify areas where you can make a contribution outside of work. Volunteering your time outside of work at a homeless shelter, your church, your local chamber of commerce, or schools allows you to experience the bigger picture of life. Not that your concerns at work are not a valid but sometimes serving others and helping those in need helps us gain clarity around our own needs and expectations from others.
I hope you find these actions steps relevant and something you can implement if you are struggling with a lack of appreciation and feelings of disengagement at work.
Make it a great day!