How to Determine if an Organization Appreciates Its Employees

Tips for discovering whether a company you'd like to work for will treat you well.

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Do you feel appreciated at work? March 7 is “Employee Appreciation Day.” Perhaps you are underappreciated and seeking a new job – hopefully, with a company that will be an improvement in the appreciation department. Sometimes, when you’re so focused on getting a job – just any job – it’s easy to forget that you should do a little research on your own to decide if you even want to work for the organization.

Dan Campbell, 2014 chairman of the American Staffing Association and CEO of Hire Dynamics – a staffing company often recognized on Best Places to Work lists – suggests the following tips to help decide if a company will appreciate you.

Does the company make it its priority to not only attract, but also retain its talent for the long haul? Is it pretty clear that the organization is a revolving door, where employees seem to come and go frequently? How can you tell? If most people you meet when networking or interviewing don’t have much experience at the organization, it may be a tip-off. You can certainly make a point to ask about the tenure of the typical employee.

“When searching for the right career, no longer are immediate opportunities the top consideration as continued growth has become increasingly more important,” Campbell says. Make it your business to find out if the organization’s culture supports promoting from within. Is there an internal job board? Do people move up the corporate ladder? Do managers support individual career goals? While you don’t want to engage with a supervisor by asking how long it will be until you can do something different, if you can get a sense of whether people tend to stay with the organization or not you’ll have at least part of your answer about if employees feel appreciated.

Identify if the organization is flexible. Campbell points to a 2013 global generational study by PwC that discovered millennials believe “enhancing workplace flexibility and equity between work and home is one of the keys to improving job satisfaction.” Most people would likely agree that they feel more appreciated and valued when their organization provides at least some version of flexible work, whether it’s on a regular basis or during critical situations. Again, you shouldn't go into an interview asking about how often you can work from home, but you can ascertain the company culture generally to determine if you would feel valued.

Facilitating a strong sense of teamwork is another way an organization can help its employees believe they're valued. “A strong, cohesive, team-oriented workplace culture and opportunities for interesting work are important,” Campbell says.

Do benefits go beyond your salary? “Companies like DreamWorks offer recreational learning opportunities to employees including painting, karate and sculpting," Campbell explains. "Google, Zappos and Procter & Gamble have designated nap rooms where employees can take 30 minutes to reboot." While these companies have pioneered the way, Campbell says, "more businesses across a broad range of industries are now warming up to these ideas.” If you like hands-on appreciation, you’ll want to find out the type of rewards the organization offers. In the application process you can usually tell if a company offers such rewards – like team contests for restaurant gift cards or a chance to win a half-day Friday – because the company will tell you. These perks give the impression that the organization appreciates its employees.

Look online. Online reviews on a website like Glassdoor.com will help you assess how good an organization is when it comes to showing appreciation for its employees. Seek lists of “best places to work,” as many of those companies likely do a good job recognizing its employees for jobs well done.