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The last thing any employer wants is to see star talent walking out the door, but fostering loyalty can be difficult in an office environment. The solution is to let employees know that you care about them as people.

Your employees are your company’s greatest asset, so you want to keep them feeling appreciated. Make time regularly to show your employees you care by getting to know them a little better, doing your best to support them in and out of the office, praising them when they’ve earned it and trusting them to work with less supervision.

Support Your Employees Personally and Professionally

The most important thing you can do to show your employees you care is give them support in all aspects of their lives. Of course, it’s important to offer your employees professional opportunities. They’ll appreciate opportunities to grow their skill sets and become more valuable members of the workforce. Any employee will naturally feel grateful when you offer him or her promotion or some new responsibilities.

Your employees, just like you, have lives outside of work. You can show your employees that you care about them by doing your best to support them in personal matters as well as professional ones. You don’t need to meddle in your employees’ affairs or interfere in their lives in order to be supportive. If you find out that an employee is coping with an illness in the family, offer him or her some extra time off or some scheduling flexibility. Offering benefits like vacation pay, sick days and health insurance is another way to support your employees in their personal lives.

Get to Know Your Employees Personally

You don’t need to become an employee’s best friend, but taking a little time to get to know each of your employees better as people will show them that you think of them as more than just office drones. Be relatable; treat your employees as equals. Try not to lord your position over them.

Instead, make personal time to talk to each one of your employees regularly. Ask them about their professional ambitions, their goals, hopes and dreams. This can give you much insight into how you can support each employee professionally and personally, and what you can do to help each employee improve his or her performance. It also gives each employee a chance to give you feedback about your workplace culture and procedures.

But you should also remain open to more casual conversation with your employees. Keep your office door open so that employees feel comfortable approaching you with their concerns, or just to say hello. Ask your employees about their families; find out the names of their partners and children and remember them for future conversations. Ask about hobbies, likes and dislikes. Encourage your employees to bring their partners to work functions, like the office Christmas party. Schedule an occasional happy hour or office lunch on your dime.

Be Generous With Praise

Everyone likes to be praised, and your employees are no exception. Respond to good performance with positive feedback. Avoid simply saying something like “Good job!” and leave it at that. Bland, vague feedback doesn’t let your employee know why you’re praising him or her.

Give specific praise that identifies the behavior you’re praising. For maximum benefit, praise behaviors that the employee can control. For example, if an employee always shows up on time, mention in your feedback that you appreciate his or her punctuality. If an employee has excellent research skills, make sure you praise him or her specifically for those skills. When you make your praise specific, the employee will feel encouraged to continue behaving in that manner; in fact, he or she will likely feel even more determined to live up to the praise.

You should also make it a point to pass on positive feedback from customers. Often, employees don’t have the opportunity to hear the praise that you receive about them from clients and customers. Your employees will appreciate hearing this feedback. You can even create avenues for employees to share positive feedback about one another.

Place Your Trust in Your Employees

Placing your trust in employees is the best compliment of all. It’s guaranteed to make them feel appreciated — assuming, of course, that you don’t overload them with too much work. If an employee has been performing well on a task, you may decide to let him or her take charge of it without continuing to run it by you. You may decide to put him or her in charge of a procedure, process or project. Either way, trusting your employees to work on some of their own tasks without constant supervision will deepen their sense of commitment to the company.

Showing your employees that you care about them as people is the number one way to win their long-term loyalty. Do everything you can to support your employees; place your trust in them, praise them when they do well and take the time to get to know them personally. When you go the extra mile to show your employees you care, they’ll reciprocate with increased commitment and productivity.

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