Creating a great workplace means keeping employees around longer, increasing employee advocates, and boosting productivity. Companies that are looking to improve their business activity and meet higher goals need to consider implementing a workplace that fosters invigorated workers that care about their jobs. According to Gallup, a whopping 87% of employees are not actively engaged in their workplaces.

So what are other companies doing to keep employees engaged and motivated?

1. Company Direction

While many employers might believe the workplace happiness comes down to salary and direct compensation, employees show different ideas about what makes the workplace worth working in. Employees list top results as:

What does this mean for companies? Rather than working to spend more money on higher compensation packages and paying for increased turnover rates, companies can reduce their costs by focusing on the environment of the workplace and the direction their company is heading. While each industry and type of employee will have differing preferences on what a top workplace looks like, these common factors remain constant; people want to like the company they are working for.

2. Room to Grow

Employees have to have a place to move up towards if they are going to stay actively pursuing their professional development within the company. Employees of companies that offer clear and comprehensive paths towards higher levels of employment will be more engaged and motivated to improve. Professional development is often a highly desirable benefit among employees, but the training should be effective and have a specific goal that is actualized by completing the training. Generic training sessions are typically seen as boring and a waste of time by employees forced to attend them.

3. Recognition of Successful Efforts

When employees do work hard to break barriers, learn new skills, or improve on their work, they should be directly recognized. Employees want to feel needed and appreciated in their workplace. Often, even hearing a compliment from a manager or being recognized among their peers for an accomplishment will go a long ways towards making them feel like a valued part of the team.

4. Expected Evaluations

One big mistake made by some managers is making the workplace much more hostile and tense than it needs to be. Managers need to keep their employees up to speed with their efforts and expectations. Employees are not going to be comfortable or dedicated if they feel their job is on shaky ground at all times.

An employee’s evaluation should never come as a surprise. Managers need to make sure they are clear in what they are asking and how they perceive the employee’s work. If an employee is surprised to find out they are not meeting expectations, then the manager has failed to encourage the employee to change in an appropriate way. If the employee does not realize their manager considers them a huge asset to the team, then the manager is not recognizing their efforts in an appropriate way. Managers have to make sure they are giving feedback on a regular basis and not dropping a bomb on an annual (or quarterly) evaluation.

Make the workplace atmosphere an enjoyable one by allowing employees to relax, be themselves, and care about the results of their efforts. Companies that are able to provide an ideal workplace for employees are more likely to benefit from a larger top talent pool of interested prospective new hires, better retention rates, and increased productivity from workers who are engaged in their tasks.