Did you know that Friday, March 2, was National Employee Appreciation Day? And with so many employees working overtime, doing the work of three people and wondering if they’ll get a raise this year, there is no shortage of employees in need of some appreciation. While this day provides a nice opportunity for bosses to honor their hard-working staff, what about the other 364 days of the year?
If you don’t feel like your boss appreciates the effort you put into your day-to-day tasks or recognizes that time and again you go above and beyond what is required of you, what should you do? Should you confront your boss about it or learn to find other ways to feel valued at work?
Take the environment into account. “Before you approach your boss, consider whether how you are being treated is unique to you or shared by your colleagues,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.” “Also consider the state of your firm. Is it in distress like many other companies?” If the answer is yes, Cohen recommends finding other ways to show your value, such as staying late or having a good attitude, even in stressful situations. “These actions will make your boss appreciate you more. So in some situations, the path to appreciation is achieved through a non-confrontational approach.”
Start appreciating others. Mary Hladio, founder and president of organizational performance consultancy Ember Carriers Leadership Group, says that if you want to feel appreciated, you need to start by appreciating others, even your boss. “Tell people that they are doing a good job. Say thank you to your boss. Send handwritten notes. You might be skeptical of this idea, but you will start to influence the culture, and others will return the compliments.” Plus, making others feel good should make you feel good too.
Learn to take a compliment. How many times have you caught yourself deflecting a compliment someone is giving you? “All too often someone compliments us, and we shrug it off: ‘It was nothing,’ ‘Just doing my job,’ ‘Whatever,’” Hladio says. “If we can’t accept these kind words when given — even if it is few and far between — how are we going to influence our co-workers and our boss to repeat it?”
Make your accomplishments known. Instead of directly confronting your boss about not feeling appreciated, find other ways to make him aware of your achievements. “When you have a success, make sure that your boss and any other key stakeholders are made aware,” Cohen says. “A subtle approach is always more effective than in-your-face blatant self-promotion. Focus on benefits to the company. For example: [Send] an email where you share the excitement of hooking a new client, additional revenue you have generated or an innovative strategy that you have introduced and the potential impact on the bottom line.”
Be happy with business-as-usual. “Sometimes it is hard to notice a person doing a ‘great’ job when there is not a negative event to set the standard,” Hladio says. “If things are running smoothly, and you are doing your job well, it becomes business-as-usual. So relearn how you fit into the organization and your team.” Hladio says that you should find other ways to feel appreciated, such as changing your attitude and staying positive. “If you walk into work feeling satisfied, people take notice, and they’ll ask why you are so happy. And if you can, respond [with], ‘I come into work and give it 100 percent, and I leave knowing I did a great job as part of this team, and the result of my actions results in this company’s success … How about you?’”
Whether or not National Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated in your office, find a way to reward yourself anyway. You deserve it.