We’ve all been through jobs where we didn’t feel right. We’ve all had an idea, and the boss has taken it over; we’ve worked overtime, and no one has been interested, or we’ve had to do a repetitive task that, however necessary, didn’t give us any joy. Everyone has dealt with it in the best way they could, and doing so has certainly taught us tolerance to frustration, but this is not the way the world of work should be. 

What all the above examples have in common is the lack of recognition for our work. Recognition of our ideas, the extra effort we make, or an incentive to do more willingly do those tasks that no one wants but must be done. These simple actions make a big difference. 

While it is uncomfortable when we find someone bragging about how wonderful they are, it is also true that we all need our successes to be acknowledged. It is not enough for us to see we have done things right. We need someone to show us that they noticed. Why?  

According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, recognition is one of the human beings’ highest needs. At the most basic level are physiological needs (breathing, feeding, rest, and maintaining body temperature). On the second level is the need for security (physical security, employment, resources, morals, health, and private property). The third level corresponds to the need for affiliation, to be part of a community, and receive affection. The next step, recognition, is what concerns us today. 

None of these steps can be taken without the previous one: someone who is hungry will not be able to satisfy their need for recognition. Each level of the pyramid provides the basis for the next, more abstract, needs to be met. 

In Maslow’s pyramid, the need for recognition is divided into two aspects: the desire to receive respect and recognition from others and, at a higher level, self-esteem, which relates to dignity, independence, and mastery. Especially during childhood and adolescence, our self-esteem (internal recognition) will depend on the respect and recognition we receive from the outside. It will always be easier for an adult to assume that their boss doesn’t appreciate him/her than for a child to accept this regarding a teacher. But, even so, the need to receive recognition from the outside is constant throughout life. 

Furthermore, just as dinner tonight is not going to be enough to satisfy our need for food for a whole week, getting a pat on the back today will not satisfy us for six months. That’s why job performance evaluations at the end of the year aren’t enough: even when performance has been extraordinary, and this is recognized, the feeling of well-being will inevitably fade. 

Work is an important area in adult life because it relates not only to the recognition we receive from our bosses and peers but also our ability to look out for our own well-being and that of the people we love. If we feel good at work, we will be more productive and creative, and we will be able to transfer this well-being to other spaces. 

Finding how to ensure this welfare in the workplace is not obvious, but for that, Optime Consulting has developed eRecognize.me, a gamified and competitive platform that is based on human’s needs and behavior to improve the satisfaction and commitment of workers. To receive more information or get a quote, please contact us

By: Ana Maria Enciso- November 2020

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