Do you feel valued at work?

“Employed adults who report feeling valued by their employer are significantly more likely to report they are motivated to do their very best for their employer and recommend their workplace to others.”

That was one of the compelling findings shared by Dr. David Ballard, director of the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program of the American Psychological Association, in his welcoming presentation at “Work and Well-Being 2012,” a conference held in Chicago last week.

Dr. Ballard cited a recent survey showing that 72 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “I am motivated to do my very best work for my employer.”

However, there were huge divergences within the survey respondent group. Among those who reported feeling valued by their employer, that figure was 93 percent. By sharp contrast, among those who reported not feeling valued by their employer, the figure was 33 percent.

In other words, those who felt valued at work were nearly three times more likely than those who did not to give their best efforts on the job.

Perhaps the survey results state the obvious: We’re motivated to do our best when we feel valued. And yet, isn’t it remarkable how many employers don’t get this basic point?


I was honored to present about workplace bullying at the conference, sharing the stage with Dr. Michael Leiter of Acadia University in Nova Scotia, a highly regarded expert on civility in the workplace. This short conference was packed with interesting speakers and compelling presentations. I’ll be writing about more of them in later posts.

9 responses

  1. Good post David, I cannot tell you how important it is for Employers to value their Employees and the contribution that they make to the workforce. As I said before and i want to spell it out again and you have my permission to discuss this with Dr. Ballard or Mr. Leiter because i think what i experienced may not be rar but is certainly profound. Again let me explain: I was a Bldg Superintendent for a very large community center in upstate ny for 16 years. That last 10 i had a new boss who was a severe bully, worst i have ever seen or heard of. I was a working supervisor and managed 3 departments, handled their bus program, was required to drive bus when needed as a fill in and did all of the hands on maintenance and repair for a 70,000 sq ft facility, all of the electrical, plumbing, painting, carpentry, alot of remodeling, hvac, swimming pools, sports and fitness center equipment, gym equipment, boilers, playgrounds, doors, locks, security systems, windows, flooring, every technical thing in that facility i repaired and maintained myself, one person. In addition, i was required to manage the custodial dept. and assist with set ups , some 700 a year for meetings, banquets, special events etc. The list goes on. I did all of this work and from the time this bully started working their she did nothng but abuse and humiliate me, she complained about everything and if i did it her way, she changed the tables so it was still wrong, called me names in front of people, stalked me, harrassed me, threatened me, and the list goes on. Every day for 10 years. Yet i was required to handle this work load, some 55- 70 hours a week with no overtime. I managed large constuction projects too . It was estimated when i left that i was saiving the facility a year more than enough to pay her $180,000 salary, by all of the work i was doing that did not have to be hired out. My point is i put up with this for 10 years and even in the midst of the abuse i kept trying to do my very best, but what happened was the ultimate tragedy, i broke down after 10 years and i was no longer able to function, i developed severe PTSD and could not even do the simplest task let alone even think about technical work i had mastered over my 30 year career. This came on over a long perios of time and abuse. I was never praised, compensated in any way for the extra hours, i was humiliated instead and expected to do more, and i was abused, in every verbal way you can imagine in the workplace and it was just expected that i was to keep going and be able to handle it. I broke and i am suffering for it now, out of work with PTSD and emotionally numb and withdrawn and very messed up. I am making progress, but what you bring up here is very important, this would likely never have happened had this agency not allowed it, but more importantly if i had been praised and appreciated for the hardworking, accommodating, professional i was instead of abused and humiliated and pushed beyond human limits. It is not rocket science. The problem lies within the bully and the nature of what they do to the target they choose to bully. It has to stop. My theory is that the workplace should be a place where people provide a service to their employer, the employer is providing a service to society, the world cannot go round without it. If employers train and encourage and promote a healthy workplace that breeds, learning, nurturing and encourgement, and appreciation and builds better employees for the future, everyone wins hands down. If we continue to allow this behavior in the workplace we are going to lose good hardworking dedicated loyal people like me and others and we will be stuck with the people that want to drift into mcdonalds and do the basics and just get by, if that is what America wants then i fear for the healthcare industry and every other critical organizations that we cannot live without that keep our world safe and moving forward for the future. We cannot allow people to be treated this way, and while i fully understand that it is not every employer, i know it is prevalent and we have to change it. Power hungry, bullies have no place in the workforce.
    Mel Dening

  2. I started with a new employer almost a month ago. It is like a day and night difference to my previous employer. I am appreciated, complimented, stood up for, included, given freedom to function in my role, and given the support to do all of it. I am truly blessed after years of imprisonment, abuse, and hatred. It is a refreshing change in this path we call life.

  3. I also do not understand why companies don’t “get it” about making their employees feel valued. In the armed forces, they break you down to nothing along with everyone there, Boot Camp, then slowly build your morale up until you feel like you are very special within your outfit.

    If our military can make our troops feel like they are valued both individually and corporately, then why don’t private companies understand the “VALUE” in treating their employees that way.

    Think about how much more productive people are when they are actually complimented on the good job they do and criticized in a constructive way when needed. Civility in the workplace is so much more of a benefit to employers than the opposite that it only makes sense that all good companies do it the right way.

    Thank you for a great post,


    • Judith
      From my experience and after what i have endured for 10 years of bullying and abuse, i found that the civility in the workplace was not important to the bully because bullying is about power and greed and and illness within the person. Also i have found that many times bullies are in power positions like executives etc and they bring the organization a lot of grief and damage, and it often takes a long time before the organization realizes it. I have seen some orgainzations that are very good employers and treat their employees with respect and dignity. One such company i can think of is Wegmans foods a large grocer in Ny state and Pennsylvania. However there are a lot of places that allow abuse and turn the other way because they just do not care, until they get hit in the pocket book big time and then they wake up and i think that is where they need to be punished is in the wallet where it really hurts, because believe it or not organizations that typically treat their employees badly only care about money, and if that were not true they would be focusng on the other important things that you mentioned. These organizations see employees as disposable and just move on to the next target. Very sad !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I think it’s helpful in this context to separate civility/incivility and bullying/abuse. A civilized workplace makes rational sense, from virtually any perspective, but once a situation has become abusive, it no longer holds any logic. Bullying, mobbing, abuse behaviors are so nonsensical. I keep going back to one of the first people ever to tell me about her bullying at work experience, when she asked “Why me?,” and I replied the sad thing is why not you, the behavior defies rational explanation all too often.

  4. Thanks for sharing this GREAT information, dear David!!

    When I completed my doctoral research on the experience humiliation many years ago, I conducted an informal online survey of what people thought was the opposite of humiliation. They said “feeling valued”!

    Your blog is a HUGE gift to all of us, dear David!

    All the best! Linda

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