Who has ever said that moving into a ‘new normal’ is or has ever been an easy transition? How to conduct a business in general, how to develop an effective hybrid or partially hybrid team is a challenge. And while this is an ‘in progress’ happening on the part of organizations, employees are becoming more vocal. About what? Many increasingly easily express how they do not feel valued and an important part of the business equation.
Of course, this is not beneficial from any vantage point. A team member who believes their work and effort is not seen as a valuable contribution to success becomes demoralized and if left unaddressed, digs a path to the door. My curiosity has me wondering to what extent there is truth and fact feeding this feeling or is the cause more in the minds of the ones experiencing this? In either case there are actions and evaluations that one can do to alter this course.
To clarify, what does it look like to be valued at work? There are 4 key factors or measurement tools that are particularly good indicators as follows:
- Receiving verbal recognition.
They recognize contributions one is making toward the overall team effort is a strategy used by management. Certainly, this reinforces our sense of the value we bring to the effort.
- Performance reviews that provide positive feedback.
These indicate positive ratings for various categories included in the review. These confirm the employee’s success in their efforts to contribute as needed and expected.
- Receiving fair compensation for one’s work.
This should reflect for their contribution, skills, experience and learning they have successfully done.
- Have clarity pertaining to opportunities for their advancement.
When employees know there is a path to growth and more responsibilities that can earn promotions, they know their skills and talent are valued by the company.
Let’s imagine that you are not receiving some of the above measures of being valued by others and you begin to question your worth. Here are some key tale-tale indicators that might validate your fear, concern, and actions you can take:
- One sees themself as invisible as their opinions are not taken seriously.
Perhaps your thoughts are dismissed as unrelated, insignificant or unimportant. Or you hear your ideas passed off by another as theirs.
Consider asking where others see that your thinking and approach went off course. This approach avoids someone else feeling challenged and the input received can be valuable.
- Others on the team consider you the go-to for office work.
However, you are not receiving the projects/assignments that can result in advancement.
Look for and identify aspects of the overall work that the leaders are doing and express your ability and interest in taking this over to their benefit. You may have been put into the category of the go-to person simply because you have always been so willing to respond positively. You can bring notice to yourself through taking such an active approach.
You are experiencing micro-management from those to whom you report.
This conveys a potential lack of confidence and trust on the part of the ‘boss’’ This can result in one’s diminished interest and passion for the work you are assigned.
Point out that you are working to meet the deadline for the work for which you are responsible. Relate that the need to frequently update another as to where you are and undergo an examination of your work at frequent stages impacts your ability to meet the needed deadline. Ask for input as to what the concern is that leads to this tendency to closely monitor and ask if there is another way that one would prefer you approach the work.
- You are doing an excellent job and yet believe you are being underpaid.
You are acknowledged for the work you do. You are praised for your contribution and your performance review is very positive. Still, you believe that your strong and valued performance is worthy of salary increase that are seemingly overlooked.
Gather factual data related to the money being paid to others performing a similar role. Perhaps this comes from a trusted associate or someone at another company. Then, develop your presentation around your contributions, your knowledge and the growth you have done that justifies salary growth. Talk to the person able to bring about the change you believe is warranted. This could well be a case of the squeaky wheel. Managers are also busy and are not always sensitive to the needs and desire of those they oversee.
In the overall, it is critical that one communicates their concern pertaining to seeing themselves as undervalued. Taking these steps will put your thoughts, concerns and desires on the table where they belong before change can happen:
- Make a list of the contributions for which you are responsible.
Provide very factual evidence of what you have achieved and your contributions to the overall effort of the team, department or organization overall.
- Request to meet with your manager.
Work to find a time wherein both of you will be able to focus as opposed to having a rushed meeting.
- Express your concerns.
Include your desire to feel of value and feel more appreciation for your contribution. Share some of the key contributions you have made that warrant acknowledgement. Share in what ways you feel you are undervalued in your job.
- No pay increases since you started your current position
- Little recognition for the job being done
- Limited or no opportunities for growth
- So-so performance evaluations
- Provide your suggested solutions for this situation.
Offer your thoughts as to various ways this situation can be resolved as you see it encouraging discussion that leads to improvement.
- Increase your visibility
Get involved in projects or related tasks that are technically outside of your normal work. Find ways to make yourself known as no one will seek you out if they don’t know who you are and what you can bring to the table
- Openly and enthusiastically seek the boss’s perspective.
You are likely to be discussing an issue about which he has had no knowledge of. By being open to her/his view of your input you show your willingness and interest in finding a solution. It is the solution that is potentially going to alter your situation for the better.
- Be your own best advocate.
Being able to speak confidently and directly to the strengths you offer and the related contribution to the overall success is key. If you differ in the way you have been evaluated on any given topic, you are the one to provide your perspective of the difference. It is likely that the leader will hear and willingly consider your input.
Truly feeling undervalued at work is not a place anyone wants to be. There can be a wide range of warning signs that this is the case in your workplace and not all are immediately obvious. When you think you notice any such signs it is particularly important that YOU take action. Keep in mind that only YOU own your career and the related growth. Do you want change? Just take needed steps and you open the door to money, advancement and job satisfaction.