Feeling appreciated at work can make all the difference.
Imagine putting a lot of effort, hard work, and time into a project that comes out perfectly.
Clients love it, your manager and boss love it, and everyone's amazed by the work quality.
You expect people to notice what you've done.
You feel you're about to get a promotion or a raise that can really turn things around.
But few people recognize your effort.
And that promotion? They gave it to Dave because he married your boss' niece, and they needed a bigger apartment.
Are You Getting Recognized at Work?
It's a straightforward question.
Several studies have shown that not many people are.
If you're struggling to answer that question, then you're probably one among the unfortunates.
A recent Workhuman report discovered that 49% of those surveyed had not received a "thank you" from their employer during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Let that sink in for a moment.
No wonder people left their jobs in record numbers—in what came to be known as the Great Resignation.
A Pew Research Center survey found that one of the top three reasons for resignations was "feeling disrespected" at work.
So, How Does it Matter if Nobody Recognizes My Efforts?
You're truly blessed if you can work passionately without appreciation or at least some sort of validation. Most people, though, require it.
Let's take Oprah Winfrey's experience as an example.
She interviewed over 30,000 people on her talk show, from Barack Obama, Michael Jackson, and Beyonce to prison inmates.
She observed that almost everyone had one thing in common—no matter what they did or who they were.
Oprah said: "After every interview, you know what they would say? 'Was that okay? How was that? How did I do?' "
It's an innate human nature, something we are born with—to want to be seen, heard, and acknowledged.
Well, It Makes a Big Difference
I asked this question to our team members with more than a decade's experience. And this is what they said.
"It's crucial to be recognized at work. It shows that we are valued. It motivates people to perform better and boosts self-confidence," said Merlyn Fernandes, Project Manager, Axelerant.
In Glassdoor's Employee Appreciation Survey, 53% of people said feeling more appreciated by their boss would sway them to stay longer at their company.
"Recognizing people is as necessary as providing valuable feedback,” shared Kalaiselvan Swamy, Axelerant Drupal Staff Engineer.
He explained: “You can't grow a plant with only sunlight. You need a proper environment—so many things go into making a healthy tree. It's the same with people."
"It's critical to let people know they've done well, even if it's a part of their job," said Michael Cannon, Chief Success Officer, Axelerant.
Getting recognized for one's work is essential for a happy work-life. When your peers recognize your efforts, it:
- Fights-off doubts about professional advancement
- Increases a sense of belonging
- Boosts self-morale and self-confidence
- Increases a sense of accomplishment
And We Realized It Long Back
My co-working space buddy is a senior data scientist at one of the top four global technology companies.
They once shared an email with me—where their seniors appreciated their efforts in a project. They showed the email to anyone who'd see it.
Two things were evident to me from this incident:
- That it was a rare occurrence
- And they had never been happier or prouder in all the months we worked side-by-side
I was surprised.
Because at Axelerant, everyone — from Axelerant CEO Ankur Gupta to the newest team member — regularly recognizes their peers.
"I want people to feel valued at work. Because they are valued here," said Ankur.
Ankur had always been clear about building a system where people can recognize their peers regularly.
That We Need to Recognize Our Team Members
Over the years, Ankur learned many lessons from running Axelerant: a fully remote global company.
Creating a sense of belonging among team members was among the hardest.
"In a remote work step up, it's difficult for people who aren't a part of your team to see what you're working on, and open recognitions can help with that," expressed Ankur.
Michael worked at a US-based firm before joining Axelerant more than a decade back.
"People would rarely recognize each other. The clients would rather holler at us than appreciate good work," shared Michael.
"I recognize my folks to let them know that I care about what they do, and I want them to enjoy their successes," he said.
And Appreciate Them for Who They Are
There's a difference between just recognizing a person's efforts and appreciating them for who they are.
"When I say I appreciate someone, it means I value them for what they are as a person. It's not just about their work at the company," said Ankur.
A fundamental difference between the two is that recognizing a person is conditional: they must do something worth the recognition first.
Of course, it's essential to celebrate peoples' efforts. But is celebrating productivity alone adequate to make someone feel valued?
At Axelerant, we firmly believe that people are more than what they do at their workplace.
Through Open Recognitions
Each team member can openly recognize anyone in the organization for anything they want or feel grateful for. And it's visible to all.
Kartik Shukla, Axelerant Project Manager, keeps a tab on how his team members feel about the work through feedback.
Like other project managers, he also invites clients to share feedback about team members, projects, and their overall experience of working with us through AskNicely.
Any positive client feedback is shared and celebrated across the organization.
"I saw people getting recognition for walking the extra mile at my previous workplaces. But it was rare," shared Kartik.
"At Axelerant, people recognize their colleagues for things people take for granted," he added.
By Encouraging Team Members to Say What They Want
Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could share just what you feel and how you feel it—with your boss?
Well, we use Officevibe for that.
Anyone can share their experiences, suggestions, feelings, or whatever they want—with the person they want—through this platform.
Team members receive automated feedback forms every week.
Their answers let us know the "vibe" in the organization. People can choose to share their feedback anonymously, too.
Most of the Axelerant benefits for team members originated or were tweaked through this process.
By Coaching People to Appreciate Their Peers
During the onboarding process, people get introduced to how things work in a 100% remote organization.
They are assigned a performance coach, so support is always a message away.
During my onboarding, Mridula Ujjwal, Axelerant's Director of Coaching, explained the recognition system and shared:
Coaches acquaint people to appreciate others' efforts that we usually take for granted.
"If someone does something that falls under their job description but helps you, recognize them," Mridula had said.
Research shows that this practice can make us feel more grateful and happy.
And Promoting Thankfulness Within Teams
Each department has a discretionary fund expressly set aside to appreciate team members.
People can nominate their peers for that month's discretionary fund—a small bonus to show appreciation—and share their reason for doing so.
When everyone in the team unanimously agrees, the person(s) nominated gets the fund.
"I feel delighted when I see the happy emoticons from the team members," said Jaspreet Singh, Project Manager, Axelerant.
"Recognising team members motivates them and brings a sense of positivity," shared Kartik.
Because for Us, People Matter
It matters to us that our team members feel appreciated and recognized at work.
"We are developing a new system to acknowledge and reward people who have been with us for more than three years," said Ankur.
Over 70% of our team members have been at Axelerant for more than half a decade, several celebrating a decade with us.
"I found what I was looking for at Axelerant," shared Hetal Mistry, Axelerant's Director of Delivery Services.
Completing her fourth year in 2022, Hetal's journey before joining Axelerant echoes with almost every woman in the tech industry.
"It's not a job. It indeed is a lifestyle that has enabled me to challenge and surprise myself constantly," Hetal proudly said.
About the Author
Rohit Ganguly, Content Marketer
Rohit is a content marketer first and a YouTuber second. He loves to interact with animals, feed them, clean his apartment, and spend time with friends and family. Curious by nature, he also enjoys literature, movies, meditation, and calligraphy.