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The key to employee motivation and increased productivity is often simple, inexpensive and yet commonly overlooked: appreciation. Employees who feel appreciated by their employers are more engaged and personally driven to perform for the company. Unfortunately, just 22 percent of U.S. workers reported being engaged in the workplace, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace. Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions shares four ways for management to show appreciation for their team, which will lead to better production in the workplace.

Show Personal Interest

Employees don’t want to feel like they are only part of a faceless sea of workers. Rather than providing blanket recognition for employees as a whole, take the time to chat with individual employees. Compliment their specific accomplishments, but also establish a dialogue. Ask for their feedback; inquire about their professional goals, current challenges, etc. Showing that you are personally interested in them will make feel more committed and actually want to be productive.

Communicate Their Value

Your team’s drive to work hard will take a hit if they don’t feel like their effort is taken as seriously by leadership. For an organization to be successful, all levels play a major part. Ensure that your team knows just how much their contributions are valued. Provide examples of how their specific duties helped play a part in organizational achievements, as well as the company’s mission. People tend to be motivated when they feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves and contributing to the greater good.

Offer Unexpected Rewards

Bringing in treats, giving small gifts, or awarding perks like extra time off go a long way toward making your team feel appreciated. The more specific you can make rewards to your employees’ interests, the better. You don’t have to do a lot of planning – in fact, unexpected rewards on a somewhat regular basis can renew your team’s enthusiasm. It will create excitement and make them go back to work more refreshed and able to be productive.

Provide Ownership Opportunities

It sounds counterintuitive that offering more work would make your employees feel more appreciated and lead to better production. However, if you provide your team chances to be part of a decision-making process or take charge in an integral task that they’re held accountable for, it can make them feel a sense of ownership. This creates self-motivation, in which they are willing to work hard because they are emotionally rewarded by the outcome of their effort.