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10 Things To Do When You Feel Undervalued At Work

If you feel your organization doesn't recognize your contributions, there are ways to address it. Here are ten things you can do when you feel undervalued at work.
10 Things To Do When You Feel Undervalued At Work

If you’re thinking of changing jobs because you feel undervalued at work, you’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bonusly, almost 50% of American workers left a position because they felt unappreciated. At the same time, nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents said they feel unappreciated by their employer, while 59% say they’ve never had a manager truly appreciate their work. Another survey by Workhuman supports these findings. In that report, more than half of those surveyed reported feeling only somewhat valued or not valued at all by their company. In addition, employees of color (49.3%) and women (48.8%) were more likely to report feeling somewhat valued than the average.

The statistics suggest employers aren’t doing enough to show how much they appreciate their teams. Yet, employee appreciation efforts have countless benefits. In research conducted by Quantum Workplace, when employees believe they will be recognized, they are 2.7x more likely to be highly engaged. Other employee benefits include decreased stress and greater satisfaction. For the employer, a study by Workhuman and Gallup revealed that creating a culture of recognition can save a 10,000-employee company up to $16.1 million in turnover costs annually.

If you feel your organization doesn’t recognize your contributions, there are ways to address it. Here are ten things you can do when you feel undervalued at work.

1.      Consider your expectations

While you may feel undervalued at work, consider whether your expectations are realistic. Has it been a hectic period in the office? If that’s the case, it’s not unusual for even the best managers to overlook what you do. Ask yourself whether your efforts went above and beyond what your peers are doing. You may even ask a trusted colleague or mentor for their opinion as a litmus test.

2.      Validate yourself

While feeling valued is great, you can’t expect your motivation to always come from external sources. Effective self-motivation is one of the things that sets high achievers apart from other employees. So, try to reflect on your wins, even the small ones. Consider rewarding yourself with a vacation or spa day when you achieve a significant milestone.

3.      Document your accomplishments

It’s easy to blame the organization for not appreciating your contributions. But it’s just as important to assume the responsibility for tracking your accomplishments. That way, you’ll be prepared when it’s time to discuss a raise or promotion. It will also make it easier to update your résumé if you decide to look for a new role.

4.      Talk to your boss

If your accomplishments continue to go unrecognized, schedule a conversation with your manager. Let them know that you’d like more feedback moving forward. Also, come prepared with a list of your most recent achievements. That way, you remind your manager about your great work while helping build self-confidence.

5.      Appreciate others

Another way to get your work noticed is to recognize your co-worker’s contributions. Some examples include:

  • Planning a surprise lunch when you complete a group project
  • Recognizing a team member at your next staff meeting
  • Implementing a formal peer recognition program

Even a simple thank-you note can go a long way. When taking actions like these, you create a culture of appreciation.  

6.      Focus on your strengths

To maximize your contributions at work, cultivate your natural skills and talents. Focusing on your strengths will make you more apt to experience accomplishment. Don’t compare yourself to others; recognize that you can’t be an expert at everything. Instead, learn from those around you. By also capitalizing on the strengths of others, you will elevate the entire team’s accomplishments.

7.      Become more visible

If you feel undervalued at work, it’s time to increase your visibility. Start asking for high-profile assignments that greatly impact your organization’s bottom line. Speak up more in meetings and volunteer to represent your team at cross-functional events or conferences. And don’t forget to grow your network. By building and nurturing relationships, you’ll create a network of professional allies that will keep you in mind for future projects.

8.      Find meaning in your work

There’s a reason why you accepted the job in the first place. Maybe you’re passionate about the industry or the fact that your top-selling product is revolutionizing the market. Employees are more satisfied when they find meaning in their work. By feeling connected to a sense of purpose, you’ll experience higher productivity, engagement and motivation levels.  

9.      Reframe negative thoughts

“Look at Joe. He gets assigned all the great projects that I should be leading. I feel like a loser.” If thoughts like those sound familiar, your inner critic is getting the best of you. Instead, focus on thought reframing by:

  • Noticing the thought
  • Asking yourself whether it is true
  • Replacing it with a positive thought

An example of reframing, in this case, could be, “Joe is getting some great projects, but I have a plan to increase my visibility. In the next few months, I’ll find a challenging assignment that makes me feel productive and engaged.”

10.  Consider other roles

If you’ve tried these strategies and continue to feel undervalued at work, consider a job or career change. A bad boss or toxic work culture can be tough to overcome. And if your manager refuses to acknowledge your achievements, it won’t be easy to advance professionally. Consider what you may give up by staying and look at alternative paths. Making a change could benefit your well-being in the long run.

Even if you feel undervalued at work, you are not powerless. There are things you can do to ensure people notice your achievements and recognize your hard work. If you’ve taken these steps and still feel frustrated, it may be time to move on to an organization that is a better cultural fit.


Are you a woman who needs help changing careers? Download my FREE 22-page e-book: How Professional Women Can Master Career Change!

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