What to do when you don’t feel noticed at work


Everyone likes to be appreciated. This is no different at work. However, drawing attention to your efforts can be a tricky thing to achieve. Here are some ways to help you to be “diplomatically” noticed at work.

Manage Yourself tileThere are many things to consider when navigating the recognition territory, including these Dos and Don’ts:



  • Seek the opinion of others in the amount of appreciation you can expect to get.
  • Praise and appreciate others. This contributes to a positive culture and aligns your conduct with what you hope to get form others.
  • Look for ways (acceptable to both you and your workplace) to make your work more visible


  • Overlook self-validation. Take time each week to reflect on what you did well.
  • Take credit for your team’s achievements. Acknowledge everyone’s contributions.
  • Stay in a job or organisation longer than you need to if your contribution is not valued.

How do you do this?

Take a reality check
Before embarking on any course of action, you need to do a reality check on the circumstances around you. Every organisation has its own culture and “way of doing things”. Make sure you are in sync with that and recognise the way recognition functions in your workplace.

You also need to do self-check. Ask yourself if what you do is over and above what your peers do. Is it worthy of recognition? Would you be respected if it was? If you are unable to answer these questions on your own, seek the opinion of someone you trust. That might mean someone a little more senior than you, or a peer who you respect and trust.

Consider talking to your boss
If you want to get more recognition for your efforts, you are going to have to engage in a conversation with your boss. The way this goes will hinge on your relationship with him/her. You will need to organise a time for the conversation and to think about how you will frame it. It might be along the lines of a catch-up about how you have been going for the past few months. You want s/he to come to the meeting so that you can ask where your strengths lie and the areas you need more development in. Have examples in mind that you can use to illustrate where you think your achievements have been.

Highlight your team’s achievements
If you manage a team, look for ways to share with others what the team does and how it adds value. Within the team, make sure credit is given where due eg in day to day efforts as well as acknowledgements for contributions to presentations and reports. Spread the credit across the team. Accept the credit that may come to your team and acknowledge the input and support the team gave.

Remember the golden rule
Treat others as you would have them treat you. Your appreciation of others and acknowledgement of their contribution helps build a positive team culture. Positive interactions encourage people to work well and flourish in their work environment. If you are looking for appreciation yourself, you need to be demonstrating these behaviours yourself. Odd as it may seem, this is how your own work will be noticed. You can be “an agent of change” in this regard.

Establishing team routines for acknowledging contributions or celebrating the completion of major work projects are important in creating team “norms”. These need to be done in the right way to draw attention to the relevant achievement, without diminishing the message or over blowing the attention to people for “doing their jobs”. Getting the right mix is important to retaining the respect and importance for the process.

Validate thyself
Not all appreciation can come from external parties. You too, need to be able to acknowledge your own contribution to a job well done. Such intrinsic motivation is more powerful than the extrinsic version. To ensure you take the time to “pat yourself on the back”, may mean factoring it into your routine. Set aside a time to review the work week and reflect on what went well and what didn’t. This helps you remember your strengths and helps you set up some goals for the week ahead. Take care not to let this become a self-critical exercise.

And if you still feel unappreciated?
If your efforts in the above areas still result in you not getting the appreciation you deserve, it may be time to consider your options. Sometimes, the “fit” in an organisation is not right. If you have given your best and it has not been noticed or your expectations and theirs are not aligned, a change of role or workplace may be required.

If this is the course of action you think you need to take, make sure you take stock of your situation. Will you recognise it again, in another workplace? Consider what would alert you to this in the future. Furthermore, how would you explain why you left the previous organisation. These are worthy of consideration before you take action.

Knight, Rebecca. 2017. “What to Do When You Don’t Feel Valued at Work” in Harvard Business Review, 26 December 2018

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