Happy and healthy employees are a company’s most valuable asset.

There are some pretty good reasons why employers want to keep their employees happy: Workers who are satisfied with their jobs and work environments typically have far more positive attitudes.

They are more likely to stay motivated and work to the topmost level of their current capabilities and then attempt to perform even better.

They are also more likely to promote their employers via positive word-of-mouth advertising.

Best yet, happy employees don’t usually look for the first opportunity to move on to greener pastures. Instead, they develop long-term plans based on their current positions and invest in helping their employers to achieve long-term goals.

The key to keeping your employees happy is to show them in a variety of ways how much you appreciate their contributions:

Provide Them With Incentives That They Value

Far too often, employers choose benefits and rewards that reflect their budgets rather than what their employees actually value.

Although sticking to a budget is obviously necessary, ask your employees to provide you with a list of incentives that they would prefer before you look at your budget for the quarter or year and start spending.

One of the best ways to engage your employees in regards to this topic is to email them a link to an online survey that provides them with a list of the most common incentives.

Preferred incentives include cash bonuses, free education, tuition matching, student loan assistance, wellness dollars, paid maternity and paternity leave, full health insurance coverage, a free on-site gym or daycare, retail gift cards and discounts at partner businesses. Paid time off and flexible schedules that include split shifts, late arrival and telecommuting/work-at-home options are two of the most popular preferred incentives.

When you design the survey, leave room at the end of the form for employees to offer their own suggestions.

Take the Time to Actively Listen to Them

Your employees need to see that you’re interested in their ideas, opinions and work and personal lives. If possible, greet and talk casually to your immediate subordinates at least once a day. Address all employees in group settings, especially if you have a large business, at least once a month face-to-face or via a live feed.

Additionally, make certain that managers are conducting six- and 12-month individual reviews that do more than outline mistakes. Employees are far happier to hear upfront about new paths for success and benefit, award and promotion opportunities.

Whenever you or your managers conduct these reviews, always make an extra effort to look at body language when talking to an employee.

More often than not, a person’s body language provides just as much insight into their mood as their words.

When an employee speaks to you, show that you’re actually listening by paraphrasing their statements back to them and expressing your interest, concern or another appropriate response.

Celebrate Employee Accomplishments Often

Show your employees that you value them by celebrating their accomplishments. If you decide to implement an employee’s suggestion, announce this decision to everyone via a departmental bulletin board, at a special meeting and/or in an e-newsletter and on your company’s website, blog and social media pages.