Feeling Undervalued at Work? These Tips Will Help You Rebalance
Make sure your goals and expectations are clear: Write them down and rank them. That way employees, especially front-line employees who are the museum's public face, don't have to choose between competing expectations.
Build a culture that acknowledges good work: sometimes it's a simple thank you; another day it's cider doughnuts for the team; or maybe the salaried staff takes the hourly staff's jobs for an afternoon for work well done. Find your own way to say what your staff does matters.
Increase staff visibility: When you have the opportunity, toot your team's horn. Talk about what they do and why it has value. And make sure everyone's contribution is acknowledged at the completion of an exhibit, program or campaign.
Consider what you can do: Workplace wellness is one of the top concerns cited in Mercer's 2018 Global Talent Trends survey of for-profit businesses, not to mention the numerous articles and posts in museum-related publications. Think about instituting an on-site health screening, a wellness challenge, or a paid hour a week of wellness time for employees to use. If museum leadership puts wellness on the table, that permits everyone to be concerned. Working a 12-hour day isn't an option because--oh, you're valued--and you need time away to re-charge and re-group.And if you're a staff member who's under-appreciated:
Talk to your boss. Does she know what you're doing outside the lines of your job description? Bring your list of recent accomplishments. Does your job description need editing based on what you're doing?
This isn't kindergarten and getting a gold star won't give your work meaning. That comes from you. Carve out time for personal reflection, daily or weekly or even monthly. What went well? What gave you satisfaction? Pat yourself on the back when you get a win.
Are your skills wasted? Is there a gap between your job description and your talents? If yes, talk to your boss. Maybe it's time to alter your job description.
And if not, know when it's time to move on. People who love their work and their job, find meaning and value in what they do almost every day. There are a billion reasons to tell yourself you can't change jobs. Do you tell yourself you should quit, but somehow looking for another job always moves to the bottom of the list? Figure out why, and then move toward something new and better. In a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving when we gather with friends and family to say a collective thank you. Don't wait 'til then. In fact, don't wait. Tell your colleagues, your staff, and your board when they matter. Let them know they're valued. Who knows maybe next time they'll return the favor? Joan Baldwin