Do You Feel Valued?

By Joe Stein

It is quite typical to only think of job seekers in terms of those unemployed. The reality, however, is that there are many people in Western New York who are currently employed and deciding whether or not to start searching for a new job.
 
For many employees, the decision to stay or go will come down to whether or not they feel valued by their current employer. There are always exceptions, such as those with personal reasons (such as family, commute, etc.), but how a person feels regarding their current company is generally the driver to place yourself on the market.
 
You could just consider how you emotionally feel at that moment in time, but this could be a dangerous method of decision-making. You may simply be having a bad day, or drawing a conclusion without having all the facts. A better method is to evaluate for yourself whether you feel valued by your employer. I have broken out the topics for evaluation into 4 broad categories. You will find below the areas that an individual should evaluate when reviewing their current employer. You can place your own weight on each subject, depending on how much it is personally valuable to you.
 
·         Current Leadership – I placed this first because many Human Resources studies have shown that the #1 reason people leave an employer is the current leadership (specifically - their immediate supervisor). Evaluate your relationship with your supervisor. Does their style work well with you? For example, if you are someone who is very diligent, then you probably will not respond well to a micro-manager who watches everything that you do. Consider the communication and approachability of the person. Do you respect this person and are they developing you in a way that allows you to further your career? How will your supervisor react if you told them you were leaving? The answer to this question will probably speak volumes to you regarding your relationship with each other.
 
·         Compensation/Benefits – OK…let’s now review why all of us really work. If you don’t work for the money, then why not just do volunteer assignments? Are you competitive with the market? If you don’t know, then do some online research of your work for this geographic area and determine where you are situated based on your experience level. Although you may not know for sure, consider how you are paid within the company compared to others. What are the “rumors” in the organization…do they like to bring in people from the outside at a greater pay than the internal talent? How has your pay increases been the last few years? Are you stuck in recession period raises?    Benefits are another area to carefully review. Is the level coverage you receive competitive to others? Evaluate not only the cost of the programs, both in terms of weekly deductions, but also in co-payments and deductibles. With the rising cost of medical benefits for employers, some have passed a greater percentage of the burden to their employees, more so than others. What does your current company do? Evaluating your compensation can provide you with a sense of how much the company values you as a person, and reviewing your benefits can reveal the thoughts of your employer towards their employees as a whole.
 
·         Recognition – If you are like most people, being recognized for your efforts and accomplishments makes you feel valued. Are you getting this from your current employer? The recognition may be as simple as a “thank you” or a “pat on the back”. It can be as formal as some type of incentive program. Recognition can also be in the form of work assignments. You may get the choice assignment or opportunity as a form of recognition (although too much of this may make you feel like you are being taken advantage of). The question to ask yourself is whether your current employer recognizes what you do and if so, how do they do it? Does the recognition highlight you as an individual and your performance, or is it a situation of everyone gets the same thing? 
 
·         Career Opportunities – Determining whether you are valued requires you to not only reflect on the past and evaluate the current, but also to speculate on the future. Does your current employer have a career path for you and is it clearly defined? Do you agree with this evaluation?   In this category, it does help if the company is in a growth mode versus downsizing. When an opportunity does become available, is the internal talent given full consideration for the opening, or do they immediately go to the outside for someone? How is the politics when it comes to opportunity, and are you close with the decision makers?
 
Every day there are people in Western New York deciding whether to start a job search. This search may be more passive in nature and consist of posting a resume in case something better comes along, or it may be a very active review of the weekly postings. Whatever your situation, it probably is in your best interest to start by evaluating your current employer and determine just how much they value you. Now, “the grass is not always greener on the other side”, but this exercise of determining if you are being valued can help you decide if you should start looking.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search!