The deadline of a large salary survey for a client is looming at the end of the week and Katherine’s manager, Steve, has decided to go ahead with a planned vacation, leaving his team to complete and deliver the final project. Katherine has been Steve’s right hand with this project since the beginning, the client being a personal referral resulting in her being appointed as the primary contact within the company.

Unable to rearrange his plans, Steve left Katherine in charge of the final review of the report and delivering it to the client. With over 100 individual surveys to review for the final report, Katherine worked late into the night, multiple nights, with no assistance. Her overtime and dedication paid off, and the report was sent to the client by the end-of-day on Friday.

Upon his return, Steve nonchalantly thanked his team for getting the project sent out, then immediately shut himself in his office to catch up on emails and other tasks. Katherine was shocked that her hard work had gone unnoticed and was so blatantly unappreciated. Over the subsequent months, her motivation to put as much effort into her work tanked to the point of indifference and gradually, her productivity and overall confidence in her work started to diminish.

Feeling unappreciated can wreck the morale and drive of anyone. Steve’s failing to commend Katherine for the extra work and effort she put in and not praising her (either publicly or privately) led to the downhill spiral of a star employee.

Taking the time to acknowledge the efforts of your hardworking employees and communicating to them how much they are valued is a win-win. Underappreciated employees tend to be unmotivated and unproductive. On the flip side, valued and commended employees are those who genuinely want to go that extra mile and produce high quality work.

These factors should be a priority of all managers and are vital components in nurturing the growth and development of each and every individual. Providing genuine appreciation and acknowledging honest efforts increases morale, improves confidence and self-esteem, and helps ensure your employees maintain loyal and long-lasting relationships with you and the organization.