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Feeling Undervalued at Work? Here Are 5 Things You Can Do.

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Not Feeling Valued At Work

If you feel undervalued at work, you’re far from alone. A recent study reports that nearly one in two employees feel underappreciated at work. 

Unless you’re the CEO, you won’t have the ability to snap your fingers and make immediate changes to your work environment, even when you are feeling underappreciated. But there are some proactive steps everybody can take to feel more valued on the job.

We spoke with Practice Lead Kimberly Smith to get her advice on how workers should handle feeling undervalued at work. Smith has over six years of staffing experience and has helped job seekers find work that matches their skills and goals. She provided a few tips on how to overcome feeling underappreciated at work.

5 Tips for When You Feel Underappreciated at Work:

1. Evaluate Your Expectations

Before you can take active steps towards feeling valued at work, you need to set the level by defining what “proper value” means to you. Think of the process more as defining “what I need” rather than “what they need to do.”

When answering this question, it’s important to be realistic about the commitments you need from your managers. After all, they’re only human. Try to value their perspective in the same way you’d prefer them to value yours. If you show that you have empathy for their needs, they’ll be more likely to have empathy for yours when you speak to them.

Importance of feeling valued at work

“Feeling valued in your role is an important aspect to many when it comes to workplace happiness. I think a key tip is truly understanding what you enjoy about your job the most and what are your areas of opportunity. Once you self-reflect on these few things, it will help you define what you need from your manager to get more exposure to the parts of your job you like. Then your manager will better understand the parts of your role that you need to work on,” says Smith.

2. Take Stock

There are a lot of ways for people to feel undervalued at work. By defining how exactly you don’t feel valued, you’ll be able to have conversations and make plans that are based on a complete understanding of your current situation. 

Most Common Reasons People Feel Underappreciated At Work: 

  • I don’t feel that I’ve received enough feedback or guidance to help me improve.
  • I don’t feel that my personal time is respected enough.
  • I don’t feel trusted to grow my skills, or even to do a good job in my current responsibilities.
  • I don’t feel that I’m adequately compensated or otherwise given credit for the quality of my work.

Signs You Are Not Valued At Work 

It’s important to realize when you’re feeling undervalued. The emotional signals may be different from person to person, but any changes in your attitude towards the job should be noted. 

“I know in moments I’ve felt undervalued I could correlate the negatives to any of the following emotions: defeated, unmotivated, frustrated, overworked and truly feel like I lacked/didn’t understand the purpose I had in my role. If you find yourself in one of these emotions because of feeling unappreciated/undervalued — try to take a step back, be positive and think ‘how could I change this moving forward?’,” says Smith.


3. Talk It Out, But Bring a Plan

Once you’ve taken the steps to define what you need and what you’re not getting, you’ll be ready to have a conversation with your manager about how to address the situation of being underappreciated at work. Just don’t walk into that conversation empty-handed.

Management usually responds well when you make their jobs easier by approaching them with solutions, not just problems. By planning before talking about how you’d prefer to feel more valued, you’ll put yourself on better footing for any conversation, all while demonstrating your value as an employee. 

How to talk to your boss about feeling underappreciated

When feeling underappreciated at work, you should go to your boss with a plan. Your plan should use objective data and/or verifiable actions to focus on a specific area of need, such as:
  • A schedule for brief feedback meetings at regular intervals, and a sample agenda of items to discuss at these meetings.
  • A prioritized list of work tasks you are willing to treat as an emergency, as an urgent need, or as only an on-the-job task, and what times in your weekly schedule you’re willing to perform each task category.
  • A growth plan that includes targeted job responsibilities and benchmarks of on-the-job and extra work you’re willing to do in order to prove your acquisition of a skill.

Try not to bring everything at once. You can start with an item that’s causing you the most frustration or lead with the plan that you feel has the best chance of success.

Keep in mind that each plan is not a list of demands and that the initial conversation where you introduce your plan is not a confrontation. The idea is to create a discussion that’s based on what people do rather than how people feel. Don’t forget the larger goal, which is working toward an agreement that works for all parties involved.

“Stay positive and remember that time equals love. If your manager is open to discussing your concerns it’s likely because they care about you and want to help,” says Smith.

4. Reinvest In Your Own Wellbeing

No matter how proactive you are about being appreciated at work, an unfortunate fact of adult life is that some of your wants and needs will go unmet. This can be a source of justifiable frustration, but you can reduce the amount of frustration it causes you by focusing on your own wellbeing.

Remind yourself that you have value. That’s an undeniable fact and nothing that happens at work can change that. Take pride in doing each task as well as you can and try to depend on less external sources of validation. When you feel yourself getting frustrated, take time to reset, reflect on your progress and reconnect with everything in your life that makes you feel grateful. If you approach your job in this way, when inevitable frustrations arise, you’ll be more able to take them in stride, maintain your positivity and work toward solutions that help everybody.

5. Look Into Other Options

If you still feel undervalued in your current position and find that it’s affecting your ability to maintain a positive mindset, it may be time to examine other job options. When you do, make sure to remember the work you’ve done reflecting on your needs, and insist that your next job puts you in a better position. 

Not sure where to start? Try a simple conversation. You can talk to an expert recruiter to find out what the current job market looks like for people with your skills and experience — including what companies are doing to make their employees feel properly valued.

“Recruiters can do the hard part of job searching for you. How often do you apply for a job, interview and then realize you wouldn’t be interested? A recruiter can help to understand your goals, aspirations, compensation, non-negotiables and professional “must haves.” By doing so, they can assist in vetting employment opportunities, creating time savings and improving how fast your resume gets in front of the direct hiring managers,” says Smith.

If you’re curious about what positions are available to you, view our job board.