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5 Tips to Gain More Recognition at Work

Date: 15 March 2015

It is human nature to want to feel appreciated. Gratification fulfils our need for acceptance, and understanding, to know we are genuinely valued by those around us. Each generation has different levels of gratification; Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X or Generation Y, all work in different ways. In the work place there are major differences between the way each generation receives and perceives appreciation. But it doesn't matter how we like to receive praise, the fact of the matter is we all like to receive it.

The truth is we hold the key to our own success – there are many people with the right skills and attributes to do our jobs, but it is the process that matters most. A successful and fulfilling process can give you the confidence to stand out at work.

Do you sometimes feel like you work harder than everyone else and no one notices? Do your peers get noticed more than you? Employee Appreciation day bring highs for those of you who do feel appreciated, but if you sometimes don’t, here are 5 tips to help you gain more recognition at work.

1. Speak Up

Often, meeting with Senior Management can be intimidating, especially if you are not involved with them regularly. These meetings are a great opportunity to speak up about ideas! Your input is just as valuable as anyone else’s. Share your thoughts with them, and over time you will become a valued contributor. Don’t just save your ideas for meetings though - it is nearly always better to share information than to save it for later.

Also, tell colleagues and managers about recognition you have received, but keep it fact-based and sincere. Never "blow your own trumpet".

2. Give recognition to others

Regardless of your level of seniority, remember to share the credit too. Think back to your last project - do you feel you deserved all the credit for the work? If not, give credit where credit is due. 

If you are in a team then you all deserve the credit. Make a point to praise others and build positive relationships. Take time to recognise the help that others have given you, whether they taught you new processes or supported your latest project. 

“Recognition is a positive feedback loop. When you recognise someone, they will most likely return the favour at some point” says Cord Himelstein, Vice President of Marketing for Employee Recognition firm Michael C. Fina. You should recognise colleagues both personally and in front of management. Show off how well others have helped you and they will return the favour when the time is right.

3. Build your internal network

Get to know the people in your office. Not just the immediate team or people you work with occasionally but peers from different departments as well. At some point you will need them and they will need you. We have all met that person that gets invited to everything, from drinks to lunch. Get to know people the same way they do, get to know them and their circle. These relationships are the stepping stones to future development, because if they need someone they will think of you first.

Don’t just ‘suck-up’ to management. Build a foundation of relationships to develop over time. If you are struggling to know how to start to build these relationships, try asking for help on a new project or offer to help on theirs, relationships will grow naturally from there, and so will recognition, where recognition is due. 

4. Solutionise

There are always ways to improve processes, both internally and externally. Ask colleagues about processes or problems that occur often. Find solutions that would positively affect the business and be proactive to help solve these problems.

However, don’t just highlight a problem to management without a solution; be sure to have your facts aligned and solutions in place (or at least ideas for possible solutions). It is one thing to point out a flaw in a business, but another to outline solutions. When you use your initiative to solve problems that others shied away from, recognition will come accordingly.

5. Know when to let go

The hardest lesson you can learn at work is – knowing when to let go. You’re not going to get credit for everything you do. That’s just the way it is. Expecting credit for every positive outcome, whether small or big, will warrant disappointment.

Manage your expectations; credit should come where it is due. Forcing people to give you credit is not going to help build relationships or make people feel you deserve it. Save the credit-earning for those outstanding wins. This will establish you as a team player and an individual contributor.