What to Do if You Feel Unappreciated at Work

First, take a pulse check. Then, take action.

Here’s a scenario that may sound familiar: Your boss thanks each member of your team by name for their contributions to what became a recent company milestone. This is great, except she forgets your name. It stings, but you move on — momentary forgetfulness is, after all, a reasonable side effect of public speaking. Still, nobody likes feeling unappreciated at work. And there are some instances where being overlooked feels like a bigger deal. In certain workplaces, there could even be a culture of unappreciation: No matter how hard you work, it’s always there. At best, being overlooked is mildly frustrating. At worst, it’s debilitating.

And it’s common. Only one in three employees in the U.S. recall being appreciated for their quality work in the last seven days, according to a Gallup workplace survey. Yet positive reinforcement is “one of the most validated principles in management and psychology.” When good behavior is acknowledged, it is more likely to be reinforced and repeated — which is exactly what managers want to happen when their team performs at a high level.