If you’re the manager, or owner, or HR manager, or some other c-suite stakeholder, you know that keeping employees motivated improves morale and increases retention while improving productivity and the business’ bottom line.

A comfortable, appreciative workplace environment is critical to long-term company success. Take steps now to help keep key employees in place, and motivated to work with you to bring your vision to fruition. You want every member of your team eager to achieve your goals.

1. Reward innovation. Tie creative solutions to tangible rewards. Create an incentive program and make it part of daily company culture. If an employee presents a timesaving idea, or a can’t-miss means of driving more website traffic, deliver a bonus check or gift card to reward their company loyalty.

And don’t keep it secret. An innovative team member inspires others to become more involved at the micro and macro levels. Make sure rewards for innovation are well publicized in the company newsletter and on your social media pages. Praise loudly.

2. Promote from within. This natural profit builder is a total no-brainer, because everybody wins. The employee wins, you cut recruitment costs, you eliminate downtime as the replacement takes his or her new place in the organization, customers see a smooth, seamless transition, and other employees recognize that you value their loyalty by promoting from within.

3. Don’t just assign tasks. Give employees the tools to do the job. Assign every project to a manager and invest in software that lets them track tasks and progress. If employees are conducting business in the field, make sure they have the connectivity they need, with company-provided smart phones or tablets. Provide the tools and authority. Then, get out of the way.

4. Be honest. If a plan doesn’t work, explain why, provide direction to fix the problem, and let stakeholders know what steps you expect of them. Don’t try to cover up mistakes or failures to save face. Yes, “Honesty is the best policy” is a hackneyed cliché, but there’s a reason for that: It’s true! You’ll be amazed at what a policy of integrity can deliver to your company.

5. Be a trusted resource. Support employees and keep an open mind about disagreements, disputes, and other workplace activity. Support employees until they give you a reason not to.

6. Learn to listen.  We tend to get so used to directing work activity that we don’t take the time to listen – really listen. If you do all the talking, you don’t learn. Learn to listen to employees and business associates. These are invaluable business resources.

7. Be supportive, not intimidating. Respect your employees and trust them. These are the people who add value to your business and keep things running smoothly each day. The last thing you want is a group of employees who are afraid of you. As the manager or owner, your job is to facilitate the needs of subordinates in order to achieve the goals you assign.

Ask employees how you can make their jobs better, more productive. Better lighting? No problem. Better allocation of HR? Negotiating terms with a vendor? What can you do to help each employee attain an assigned goal?

8. Carefully delineate individual goals. “You do this, you do that, I’ll do that thing over there.”  Everybody knows what needs to be done and works to achieve each goal. Encourage and praise cooperation. Reward workplace goal achievement with a raise, bonus, promotion, or an extra day off as a way of showing your appreciation.

9. Make it fun. Celebrate employee birthdays. Support the company bowling team. Institute casual Fridays or Monday Donut Days. Have holiday decorating contests or Halloween costume contests. Do whatever you can to make the workplace more interesting and encourage people to keep their creative juices flowing.

10. Make it personal. Talk to employees. Get to know them as people, not just mindless drones. Create friendships based on trust. Take one for the team every now and then. Show your department co-workers you’ve got them covered.

Happy co-workers will thank you every day by being more productive.