Many workplaces have come to tolerate the lack of respect and recognition given for their efforts to attain collective goals. Either recognition is absent, mismanaged, distributed substandard, or even guarded by those who deeply believe that rewards are only given in the form of paychecks.

When employees and/or managers continually give to the employee-employer relationship and receive little to no praise, affirmation or recognition for their contributions they will express their unhappiness in a number of ways. It may result in negative behaviors towards the company or even leaving the company in the hopes of finding an employer who will appreciate all that they do and have to offer.

Today’s world of work is changing and organizational leaders are embracing a new business reality filled with both challenges and extraordinary opportunities. New workplaces where people are respectfully empowered are forming partnerships between employers and employees that foster the creation of remarkable business results that everyone can be proud of.

But recognized?

Yes, you can help enable the change by creating an environment that embraces this important people management practice. Begin by generating and making connections through meaningful conversations that bring you closer to creating an environment that celebrates contribution and results by asking and describing how you and other individuals would like to be recognized.

Think back to a time when you contributed to adding value to a group project or “wowed” a customer and maybe even a manager who genuinely expressed their thanks to you for making a special effort. How did the level of respect and recognition stand out to you? What made it memorable?

If you’re contributing to organizational objectives, working long and hard and a “thank you” isn’t extended or is not what you consider meaningful, it’s important that you follow up with that person, your supervisor, and discuss the topic.
Here’s a five-point approach to moving recognition forward from the bottom up. Coordinate time to meet with your superior or fellow colleague and cover these points.

1. Acknowledge your superior’s or fellow colleague’s efforts toward recognizing you in the past.

2. Don’t assume they are clear on the way and manner in which you find value and respect of recognition for your contributions. Describe a time when you received acknowledgement, how it made you feel, and inspired you toward future effort.

3. Reinforce partnership and commitment to your superior or fellow colleagues by stating something such as, “I am confident that you’d like to see more of my best contributions that will help us achieve great results for our customers.”

4. Align and encourage new behavior. Express your request. “To support me in
delivering my best, I would be grateful (or would really appreciate it) if in the future when you thank me for my contributions you make recognition closer to what I described.” Your superior and/or colleague will most likely be appreciative of your candor in communicating how best to recognize your contributions going forward.

5. Explore with your manager how recognizing the collective group might be achieved further. Offer suggestions on ways to expand peer-to-peer recognition and cross-divisional practices to acknowledge partnerships within the organization. You’ll assist your superior by thinking beyond the departmental level and increase awareness of others contributions that impact business outcomes.

Author's Bio: 

© 2011 All rights reserved. Judy White, SPHR, GPHR, HCS is the President of The Infusion Group ™ LLC, a next generation people management consulting and executive coaching firm based in the Raleigh/Durham, NC area. For more information, go to and discover how to move your ideas and potential forward. Connect: @InfusionGrpLLC