Is Appreciation an American Thing?
American workers have a strong desire to be appreciated and recognized, but is this a universal trend across the globe or unique to our culture? I am somewhat surprised that people feel the need to be recognized by their boss and are wishing for more appreciation. I hear this from men and women and wonder what it is about our culture that encourages this. What need is not being met?
According to Forbes, two million Americans are leaving their jobs every month, with 43% of workers doing so due to lack of recognition. Companies have been working on this for many years. What is still missing? Even workers in China, a country that tends to be extremely holistic and collectivist, desire “recognition for a job well done,” and this was the number two thing that kept these workers in their jobs. As the workforce and economy become increasingly more global, employees and their employers are coming into contact with diverse individuals and must learn how to most effectively manage and communicate with them. Many business motivation organizations are assisting with this task by developing ways to recognize and appreciate employees around the world. For example, Maritz states that, in Japan, public gift-giving is seen as meaningful, and, in Australia, informality is acceptable and opportunities to recognize teams are important. German work culture provides employees with little recognition, but individual recognition is valued with employees wanting to know that their bosses see them as individuals. In Latin America, it is more important than in other countries for recognition to involve senior management, and public recognition is highly valued.
My perspective has always been that employees and employers should come to the table as equals. This is going to create an opportunity for a change, albeit a difficult move for us. I believe that life is going to change by the year 2020, and up to 50% of jobs may be by contract. That is, an employer will say I need this done and the employee will respond with their ability to do so. This creates an alliance between employer and employee. If we are always looking for appreciation it will be impossible to come together as equals and feel confident in our abilities. With these changes in the workforce, we can work together for employer/employee relationships to become less hierarchical.
It’s important for people to learn to appreciate themselves so that they feel comfortable and empowered at work. If no one notices us, we have to make ourselves known and know our own branding. Branding becomes our own responsibility, and we must “start thinking of yourself as a brand.” Start feeling like you can step up to the plate and be proud of your accomplishments. Appreciation starts from the inside and by learning to come to the table as a whole professional.