How To Value People’s Contributions at Work

How To Value People’s Contributions at Work
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

How Well Do Your Leaders Value People’s Contributions at Work?
We asked over half a million employees each year what matters most to them.  Two employee engagement questions consistently rose to the surface with greater than a .73 correlation coefficient to higher levels of discretionary effort, loyalty, and company advocacy:

  • The leaders of the organization value people as their most important resource.
  • If I contribute to the organization’s success, I know I will be recognized.

When combined, these questions help tell how well leaders value people’s contributions at work. This is important because when people feel a sense of appreciation and purpose based upon their contributions and line-of-sight, they tend to be more satisfied with their professional lives.

Value People as the Most Important Resource
Let’s start with the question related to valuing people as the most important resource.  Leaders who believe their people are their most important resource make sure that people feel valued each and every day and have a high level of trust in leadership.  Both must be earned by consistently putting employees first through visible, tangible, and meaningful actions.

When you make decisions, do your employees truly come first?

Recognizing Contributions
The second question is about the human desire to be seen, appreciated, and recognized.  Whatever the arena, it is disengaging when people are underappreciated for their contributions. In a work environment, leaders need to understand that the feeling of underappreciation can be more than emotionally hurtful; it can be harmful to your leadership influence and your team’s performance.

It is important that you find ways to make sure that you understand and appreciate what your teams do.

How To Value People’s Contributions at Work
Many people feel uncomfortable tooting their own horn because it can feel like bragging.  Yet, people also want to feel appreciated for their contributions at work.  As a leader, there are steps you can take to highlight and appreciate people’s contributions.

  1. Start by Setting Realistic Expectations
    One of the greatest issues with how to value people’s contributions at work starts with unclear expectations about goals and accountabilities.  If contribution expectations are not clear and 100% aligned – both in terms of results and behaviors – how can you expect people to create value and feel valued?

    Work with your team to create line-of-sight with clear goals, roles, and performance metrics.  Then agree on expectations for both recognition and consequences that are meaningful, proportionate, and realistic in the context of your workplace culture.

    While everyone is different and must be treated accordingly, clarity sets the foundation for appropriate appreciation.

  2. Actively Engage Your Team
    Set up one-on-one meetings with every member of your team.  Set aside time to discuss recent achievements and ways they can continue.  Ask how you can better value their contributions and if they feel adequately recognized.

    Not only will these discussions provide a safe opportunity to learn about and recognize the value of what they have done, but they will also give you the chance to remove obstacles and give them the ability to look for further ways they can stand out.

  3. Set the Example
    Once expectations are clear and you know how people want to be recognized, be sure that in every meeting, every email, and every presentation, you give credit to those responsible. Be the leader who always notices the great work of others. Try to appreciate those who deserve acknowledgement for extraordinary accomplishments.

    Also make sure that you follow through on any employee engagement actions that you discuss in your meetings.  Your behavior is likely to inspire others to do the same. The result is a more positive work environment.

  4. Ensure Career Alignment
    Remember that the most powerful motivators are intrinsic. And the more complex the task, the more intrinsic motivation helps to drive higher levels of engagement and performance. Invest the time to ensure that everyone’s job is as enjoyable and interesting as possible. 

The Bottom Line
Every employee wants to feel that their contributions matter, and every leader wants their team to perform at their peak. Are you doing what it takes to value people’s contributions at work?

To learn more about engaging your team, download Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

Evaluate your Performance


Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work


Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most



Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition



Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned



Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance


Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance