Nearly half of American workers have left a job because they feel unappreciated. As an employer, supervisor or manager it's your responsibility to make sure that employees know how much their contributions are valued. However, many company leaders don't recognize the signs until the damage is already done.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that employees don't speak up to managers about feeling underappreciated. A recent study found that 49% of workers have neglected to report poor job conditions for fear of retaliation. Even worse, 63% of employees who file an equal employment discrimination complaint lose their job.
However, the tide is shifting as record numbers of employees are quitting jobs that fail to meet their needs. For employers hoping to retain their best team members, it's vital to understand how employees feel about their daily work environment. When employees feel underappreciated, they're more likely to disengage, perform at lower levels, and experience burnout. This can lead to costly productivity losses and rapid turnover. Luckily, there are ways to intercept the situation before things get worse.
Signs Your Team Members Are Not Valued at Work
Your employees might not be complaining, but that doesn't mean that they're satisfied. Even if your organization doesn't express disapproval of speaking out, past employment experiences could convince employees to stay quiet. If you're worried about the welfare of your team, watch for these signs that indicate your employees may not feel valued.
Gratitude Is Rarely Expressed - By You or Anyone Else
If yearly performance reviews are the only way you interact with employees about their contributions to the workplace, you might want to consider making some changes. An employee who has been recognized is 63% more likely to stay at their job for the next three to six months, but 65% of employees haven't received any form of recognition for good work in the last year. If you rarely offer your employees positive feedback for a job well done, you're failing to show your appreciation for their efforts.
Creating a space for teammates to recognize one another's efforts is an important part of a workplace culture of appreciation. By establishing a process where employees can give and receive recognition, you create an environment where everyone feels valued. This not only boosts morale, but also helps to build trust and camaraderie within the team.
Employees Have Limited Support
In times of rapid turnover, job scope creep is common. While employees might be willing to take on additional tasks to help the team, they'll likely need extra support to be successful in their endeavors. Employees need proper training and access to tools that will make their jobs easier. Additional support options can include flexible scheduling and time off as needed to take care of personal needs.
You Delegate Meaningless, Frustrating, or Difficult Tasks
If you always direct busy work or cumbersome tasks to specific employees, you're likely making them feel undervalued. When employees are consistently assigned difficult or uninteresting work, they're likely to feel that you don't recognize their value. Furthermore, "busy work" or extremely difficult work can lead to disengagement and burnout.
Compensation Doesn't Measure Up
When employees are underpaid you aren't recognizing their value. Yet, compensation doesn't only come in the form of salary. The benefits that you offer your employees should complement their lifestyles and may include medical benefits, flexible schedules, paid vacations, wellness programs, retirement packages, and more.
Communication Is Limited
Collaboration between team members and communication with management increases innovation and organizational performance. However, it's common for managers and company leaders to neglect taking time to communicate with employees. Teams are called teams for a reason. If communication between team members is limited, or managers don't communicate effectively with employees, workers are more likely to feel underappreciated.
Employees Are Isolated
A sense of belonging has a major influence on team health and performance, and forms the cornerstone of an inclusive culture. If team members are reluctant to join conversations or are working alone, they are likely feeling underappreciated. Appreciation is connective. Without it, workers are left feeling as if they have no value at your company or within their assigned teams.
Consequences of Team Members Feeling Unappreciated
Employee satisfaction is a clear indicator of the motivation you provide to bolster the efforts of your company's most important assets. Consider these costly consequences of team members feeling unappreciated.
Lack of Engagement
A loss of engagement is one of the first things that happens when employee efforts are unappreciated. When you fail to recognize the contributions of members of your team, they may intentionally or unintentionally opt out of activities or contribute less during essential collaboration efforts. Simply put, disengaged employees care less about their jobs, which leads to lower production, decreased creativity, and diminished interaction with other team members.
The best employees put effort, passion, and creativity into their work. When these efforts go unnoticed, they feel their work has little meaning. Recognition builds confidence that can offset the stress of cumbersome and difficult tasks. By making an effort to alleviate the stressors of work, you can help your employees avoid burnout and the health consequences that go along with it.
The fact that there are high turnover rates across all industries can't be overlooked. Yet, many organizational leaders are overlooking what employees seek. 89% of employers assume that their employees leave for more money elsewhere, but only 12% of employees actually earn more from their next job. Research shows that 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a major reason for leaving, and 60% say they are more motivated by recognition than money.
Appreciation and communication lead to a sense of belonging. Belonging plays a unique role in predicting both turnover intent and job satisfaction. In our own June 2021 survey, more than 95% of workers in organizations where belonging was reported as high were satisfied or very satisfied with their job, and only 2% reported thinking about leaving their current job. Where belonging was reported as low, on the other hand, job satisfaction dropped to 66%, and turnover intent increased to 26%.
Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Team
After learning about the warning signs of a team that feels underappreciated, you may be searching for ways to show your appreciation. Luckily, it doesn't have to be difficult or costly to show your team members that you value their contributions. Consider these ways you can show appreciation, help your team members feel valued, and boost organizational morale
- Give frequent praise. 78% of employees say being recognized motivates them in their job.
- Express your thanks in a card, email, or short video
- Offer growth and development opportunities. Across organizational levels, generations, genders, and working styles, the most valued type of recognition is a new growth opportunity.
- Provide team recognition rewards. From cash bonuses to a group luncheon, team recognition boosts collaboration and camaraderie among team members.
- Hold celebrations to recognize achievements.
- Give the gift of time. Select a day of the month to give your team the afternoon off.
- Create a rewards system that allows team members to choose specific incentives.
- Share achievements publicly in an all-hands meeting or get-together.
- Acknowledge major accomplishments right away.
- Create a culture of feedback where coworkers and company leaders routinely recognize the efforts of those around them.
Your Team Is Your Greatest Asset, Make Sure They Know It
Your team members are your organization’s greatest asset. Yet, it's easy to take them for granted. Failure to recognize the efforts of your employees can leave them feeling unappreciated and cynical about your organization. It can also lead to stress that impacts their physical and mental health.
Beyond inflicting less-than-favorable conditions on your employees, undervaluing your team can severely impact your company's overall performance. Workers who don't feel appreciated disengage from their tasks, pitch in less often, work slower, and take more sick days. If the environment persists, workers may experience burnout and search for an employer that will give them the treatment they deserve.
Leaders rarely have the ability to invest as much time as they'd like working with their teams. This means they have limited visibility into the factors impacting their team's performance. RallyBright offers insight into team behavior and the elements that can improve workplace culture with tools that utilize measurable data to track performance and employee satisfaction. By integrating software that uses measurable data into your performance management system, you can create a more accurate and fair rewards system to further motivate employees.
RallyBright’s Inclusive Collaboration Toolkit helps you measure, diagnose, and improve the key drivers of job satisfaction and employee retention across your teams and organization. Wanna see how? Schedule a demo.