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Ensuring Employees Get the Credit They Deserve

When employees aren't properly recognized, your company can suffer.

Q: I work for a business and manage its orthodontic clinic. For the past year, I've worked closely with my manager to open a branch office, but when the time came to fill the manager position at this new office, I was passed over for someone with less experience and education. This person even calls me for help! My direct boss recognizes my hard work, but the corporate bosses don't. How can I get the recognition I deserve?

A: Attention fellow entrepreneurs: This is an issue you need to look into. There is a lot at stake here: revenue, productivity, management behavior, human resources policies and employee morale. And that's just for starters! What we have here is the situation of an apparently outstanding employee, certainly a creative jewel that any smart entrepreneur should be grateful for. Instead of allowing this person to lose her position, authority and responsibilities, you and the manager in question should be heaving accolades, raises and increased status her way.

From the employee's e-mail, she survived the red tape, was a visionary in terms of participating in the strategic planning and had the foresight and perseverance to expand the services and revenue of the dental offices. What's not to like?

One of her questions asks how to let the corporate office find out about her skills and successes. This is a key part of career-pathing and looking out for an employee's best interests. Being aware of entrepreneurial employees is one of your most important responsibilities. What a pity that the boss in question says she will never get the credit and recognition she deserves. Furthermore, the immediate supervisor or manager should take credit for having mentored or at least encouraged and allowed this employee to participate in the strategic planning and assist in allowing ideas to come to fruition.

But that's in the past. Now, the employer should inform the employee that she has at least three choices. First, consult with her direct boss and others whom she trusts to help her determine just why she was overlooked for the position she seems to have deserved. Next, she should try her best to be open and willing to accept feedback. The more she knows now, the better off she will be in current and/or future jobs.

Second, she needs to ask how she can get people further up the hierarchy to notice her skills, abilities, knowledge and accomplishments. Is she on the appropriate committees or project teams? Does she partner with others when tasks need to be accomplished? Does her direct supervisor sing her praises at management meetings? Does the manager take credit for the work she does, thereby feathering his or her cap while preventing others from knowing of this employee's successes?

And third, if it looks like she will not get the appropriate position and appreciation for her accomplishments and potential, I suggest that she start writing her resume. She needs to contact organizations that could benefit from someone like her who has energy, enthusiasm, perseverance and a positive track record. There are many companies both inside and outside of her industry where she can apply her skills.

Fellow entrepreneurs, do you want to lose valuable employees? If not, then do not allow them to start looking for another employer. Get out there and find all the employees like her: Tell and show them how and why you value them. Acknowledge and reward past accomplishments. Conduct some serious career-pathing arrangements so that your organization can benefit more fully from eager and effective individuals. If you don't do something, you stand to lose productive and creative employees, while creating animosity, unfilled job positions, and decreasing morale and productivity. This, I am sure, is not what you want for your company.

Dr. David G. Javitch is an organizational psychologist, leadership specialist, and President of Javitch Associates in Newton, Mass. Author of How to Achieve Power in Your Life, Javitch is in demand as a consultant for his skills in assessment, coaching, training and facilitating groups and retreats.

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