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  • Writer's pictureRodney Alkins

How to know if you are Undervalued at work

The average employee spends about 90,000 hours at work during their life time, regardless of it they are working from home or at the workplace. After spending so much time particularly in one place you will become entrenched in the life, business and culture of the place. You will be impacted by the environment in which you work.

In other aspects of our lives when things become too onerous or too stressed out we seek to change our position or avoid the stressor which is taking our joy. Therefore, why is it so difficult to do so within our work environment, what do we have to lose that makes us endure our circumstances.

It is important that you feel appreciated and respected in your workplace because inevitably it will impact your performance even if you don't think so. Almost automatically, when we are conflicted our brain jumps into action to preserve our mental state and we begin to compensate in whatever area we are unappreciated. This is knee jerk reaction to preserve the valuation of others on ourselves. Stop it! Stop reacting and let us first analyze the situation. Get yourself together, regroup soldier.

Let us look at some ways in which an employee may be undervalued or unappreciated:

  1. Your Boss or Coworkers Take Credit for Your Work - This one is very common place in the world of work, people will take credit for your brilliance to get ahead and they have no moral conviction about what they have done either because frankly they care nothing about your development, only theirs. This hurts, I know. However, realize that the knowledge and the know-how resides in you and not in the person that has taken the credit. They are so busy taking credit that is not theirs, they didn't spend time looking at the work involved and usually cannot repeat the work. If this action is repeated consistently, eventually you will begin to ask yourself why work at all?

  2. You Don’t Get Paid Fairly - Lord help me here, because you know I am the recipient of this treatment, but yet I continue to work 100%. Being paid less than what your work is worth runs deep into the psyche, especially when you find out that others who do less are paid more. Don't let this consume you, speak to your manager about how you feel and possibly discuss what value you bring to the role due to other skillsets that you may not be compensated for but the company still benefits. Alternatively if it is a structural issue in terms of job evaluation you may have to request that your job be evaluated based on what you do currently, as jobs do evolve over time.

  3. You are Passed over for a Promotion - How many times has this happened to you? Even though everyone knows you are literally the person who the job requires. Sometimes, office politics play out in these types of situations even though you are the best candidate, you are not selected because you are principled, not a yes person. Alternatively, the company may choose someone else who is younger or it is the CEO's family member. Let's be honest these things happen. But it is also true a more junior employee who may have been promoted over you may have additional skills to take the company to the next level, which you do not.

  4. Senior Management claims not to be Aware of Low Morale in the Workplace - This is so laughable. Clearly senior management are not good managers or leaders then. There’s no excuse not to know how your staff are feeling., I professionally would question whether your staff respect you enough to feel that they can come to you and and feel that you can actually make a difference. When staff minimizes contact and communication with a direct lead there is clearly some level of fear or distrust of this person. This will drive down performance in the manager's department, creativity will be stymied

  5. You’re Not Given the Resources to Do Your Job Well - This depends in many cases whether the department or job is revenue generating or not. Most of the time management will make revenue generating departments or activities a priority and ensure that they have what they need to achieve good results. However, this approach lacks balance and equity and certainly informs the employee that what they mostly care about is profitability. However, non revenue generating departments or activities can be cost reduction agents saving the company thousands of dollars yearly, by implementing more efficient processes and advance automation technologies. Management must be able to assess both operational expenditure and revenue generation activities and provide the necessary tools to enhance overall productivity and profitability.

I hope I have helped someone here through these five points. There are many more I can list, but this is to get your thoughts flowing on determining if you are undervalued and to give insight on the possible and probable reasons why it may be happening to you. At the end of the day if you have gone through an assessment and spoken to your manager or even escalated it and still you are feeling this way then it is more than likely the time to move on to another job or entrepreneurship.

If profits are up but morale is down is our business truly sustainable?

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