Everyone knows that a happy employee is a productive one. There’s a myriad of advice out there on keeping your workers happy and engaged, but is there something you’re missing? Are you to blame for your employees slacking off? Here are five ways you could be:

  1. Not Practicing Clear, Two-Way Communication:

“Communication” is defined as “the exchanging of information” or a “means of connection between people.” The key words here are “exchanging” and “connection.” Make sure that when you’re communicating with your employees (or anyone, for that matter), you’re exchanging information and not just talking at them. And if you’re not making a connection, what’s the point? Basically, it’s important to make employees feel like they can talk to you. Make open communication part of your workplace culture and you’ll be on your way to a happy, engaged workforce.

2. Giving Orders Instead of Sharing Ideas:

With all we’ve learned about management over the years, why are there still so many companies where giving orders is the norm? It’s been proven time and time again that a hierarchical management organization doesn’t work nearly as effectively as a flat one. With less managers and direct orders and more inclusion in the decision-making process, workers have more responsibility and autonomy and tend to exhibit more engagement and productivity. Instead of passively waiting for the next order, workers should be asking questions and getting invested in the organization.

3. Not Realizing Your Employees’ Worth:

It’s easy to get into the habit of seeing your employees as only their job titles. A marketer is a marketer; a salesperson is a salesperson and nothing more. But if you look a little deeper, you might be surprised with the skills you find in your workers. Does one of your employees have superb communication skills? coding experience? Other technical expertise? Give them the opportunity to showcase these talents. When the next project rolls around, don’t just make assignments. Allow workers to choose the task that most aligns with their unique skills and interests.

4.  Not Rewarding Employees:

Across the board, workers of all fields, ages and background tend to have one major attribute in common—they’re proud of the work they do. Employees these days—especially Millennials—have a reputation for being lazy and apathetic but that’s not generally the case. Most workers are proud of good work and they want to be recognized for it. It may seem counterintuitive to reward employees for doing their jobs—after all, that’s what they’re paid to do. But employee rewards, whether big or small, have consistently been shown to increase motivation, productivity and overall happiness. Rewards and incentives programs are the best way to implement recognition into your workplace culture.

5. Not Holding Employees Accountable:

While rewarding employees is key to productivity, holding employees accountable is also important. For workers to excel within an organization, they need to have their own specific tasks and be held accountable to those tasks. First, assign the employee their task and make sure there are clear expectations about it. The worker then must ensure that they understand what needs to be done, agree to complete the task or meet the deadline and understand that there will be a reward or consequence depending on the outcome.

6. Thinking That Every Employee is Replaceable:

It’s true that there are a lot of people looking for work. Many of your employees probably could be easily replaced with someone with a similar skill set. But a company that doesn’t value their workers doesn’t exactly breed loyalty—and people talk. If you want to create and maintain a positive corporate reputation—and also do the right thing—treat your employees like they matter.