You say I’m important
we’re equal – all the same.
But I’m feeling worthless
‘cause you don’t know my name.
You spout about teamwork –
together we will fly.
But you’re never able
to look me in the eye.
There’s a works’ shared vision
we don’t actually know.
You see, we’re just numbers –
to you it’s all a show.
Could give you my ideas,
might help the business thrive.
But I’m not allowed to –
you’ll think I want to skive.
We know we’re not valued,
despite the lies you say.
None of us are happy,
but soon we’ll be away.
It’s no secret that a huge proportion of people feel undervalued at work, in fact research has shown that a whopping 54% of British workers feel unappreciated. I was a Human Resources Manager in my previous career and worked on engaging employees to ensure they felt happy and valued. With a low staff turnover in an industry renowned for high leaver rates, I think I helped retain them by helping them feel like they mattered.
Sadly, it isn’t just the work environment where people feel taken for granted. It’s common to feel undervalued in other areas of life, often by those closest to you.
My job has shifted from caring for the adults, to the children. Working with younger children, I realise that the same principles apply in ensuring they feel important and respected. We’re all people and when it comes to feeling valued, we require similar treatment.
Here are the top 10 ways I’ve shown people they are valued:
- Remember their name.
It’s disheartening when people forget your name isn’t it? Makes you feel like the other person couldn’t care less about you. Try to remember. If you can’t, at least try to do the other suggestions below:
- Listen and be interested.
Always acknowledge their presence (this is just good manners). When the person talks to you, focus on them and don’t be distracted by what’s going on around you. Think about your body language also. Ask them questions – most people love talking about themselves and appreciate an interested party.
- Remember details about the person.
Refer to previous conversations. For example I’ll ask the children if they enjoyed an event they had planned on going to at the weekend, we’d previously discussed. If they mention Maths homework and I remember they were struggling a few weeks ago, we’ll revisit that conversation. It shows them that I care, that what they tell me is important.
- Appreciation and praise
Showing someone they are appreciated by telling them is perhaps the most important tip of all. I’ve been in a job where I worked so hard, but never got a thanks for the effort. It was disheartening. Every child I look after thrives on praise. One little girl is very good at tidying up after herself. When I tell her she’s so good at it and I’m so grateful, she’s even more eager to please and show just how fabulous she is at tidying! I know, she’s a child – but I believe adults tick in a similar way.
- Give them your time.
Giving someone your time shows them that they are important to you. The best boss I ever had was also the busiest man I’d ever worked with. He worked long hours, being pulled in different directions. No matter how busy Steve was, he’d always talk to you in passing. Everyone liked Steve and I’m sure this was the reason.
- Encourage and reassure
At times, I’ve struggled with confidence – haven’t we all? I’ve always appreciated those who’ve helped me out along the way.
- Show them that others value them too.
A sense of belonging is important to many people. If they are feeling isolated from the crowd, they may be feeling like nobody cares. Let them know that others value them too. This will help increase their wellbeing and the team will be more productive.
- Ask for their opinion and/or help
It’s all very well doing everything above, but sometimes people want to know that their opinion and ideas matter. The children call me ‘the boss’, but they know they help make decisions when they’re here. We’re a team and it’s important to know what they want and how they feel.
- Be fair
People like to be given credit when credit is due – they don’t like to be overlooked. Discrimination can happen at all stages and places in life and it’s important to ensure you treat people equally given the situation.
- Make good Communications a habit
There’s no point in doing all of the above once or twice – they’ll just seem like token gestures. People are constantly evolving, as is the environment around them. We need to keep ensuring people feel valued by continually communicating and listening.
If you forget all of those, the key advice that encompasses all of this is:
“Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.”