At my first job in ‘the real world,’ one of my biggest complaints was the lack of recognition I received for my hard work. I didn’t have this “entitlement attitude” that people speak of these days – I didn’t feel my company owed me anything, in fact.
But, as I put countless hours of hard work into every project I did, always going the extra mile to make a client happy, it was extremely unmotivating to continue working diligently in an environment where not only did I not get a “nice job,” or “thank you” for my contributions – I never even got a wink or a nod that indicated my employers knew I even worked there at all.
I was not alone in my quest for recognition – in fact, many employees feel the same way. What I’ve come to find out is that many employers WANT to give their employees recognition – they just don’t put it at the top of their “to-do” list.
Cindy Ventrice, author of “Make Their Day! Employee Recognition that Works,” offers the following advice for employees to take matters into their own hands and get the recognition they deserve.
“When you aren’t getting the praise and acknowledgment that you deserve, it is probably time to take matters into your own hands,” Ventrice says. “There are ways to let your boss know what you are doing without bragging or embarrassing yourself in front of your co-workers.”
Publicly congratulate your co-workers for their accomplishments. Be sure to point out any accomplishments that might be a little off the manager’s radar. Keep your remarks succinct. If you compliment others, hopefully, one or more will mention your contribution. Even if they don’t, praise them anyway. It will make it more palatable when you praise yourself. If it isn’t always about you, people will be more willing to see self-recognition in a positive light.
Go ahead. Tell your boss what you’ve accomplished. Do it privately and remember to share the credit. Emphasize how others helped you. Most of the time, you didn’t accomplish what you did in isolation. Others helped, even if it was by taking up the slack while you got the project done.
Describe what you learned from the experience. This turns the conversation into a development conversation rather than an opportunity to brag.
Compliment your boss. Make it genuine. Do it privately. Middle managers are the most under-recognized group out there. They are operating at a recognition deficit. Give them a little praise, show them a little appreciation and they may recognize you and everyone else a little more frequently.
How do you know if you’ve gone too far?
“It is possible to step over the line and become known as an attention seeker. Watch people’s reactions when you recognize. Do they look bored, frustrated or annoyed? You might be overdoing it a bit,” Ventrice says.
On the other hand, you will know you’re having the right effect if people want to work with you, acknowledge you and respond to your requests quicker, Ventrice adds.