Engaging Your Rock Star Employees

Going to work is similar to going to the gym. Think about it. Keeping a fitness routine requires a certain kind of motivation. To see results, you have to be willing to go to the gym day in and day out, putting in time and effort whether you feel like it or not. If you stop seeing results, or never work hard enough to achieve any, you’ll lose motivation to keep going and eventually stop altogether.

While most employees don’t just stop showing up to work when they don’t feel motivated, they do put in their two weeks’ notice or worse – continue working with a lack of interest, enthusiasm or passion.

So how do you engage these employees? Below are three ways to make sure your team members are showing up ­– physically and mentally – to the job.

Show appreciation. Create a culture of appreciation in your office. Set an example by sending thank you notes or recognizing top performers at a company meeting. Teach your leaders to do the same, creating a trickle-down effect for the rest of the company.

Team members are more likely to stick around if they feel like their hard work is acknowledged and their contributions are valued.

Play to strengths. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink says, “one source of frustration in the workplace is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and what people can do. When what they must do exceeds their capabilities, the result is anxiety. When what they must do falls short of their capabilities, the result is boredom. But when the match is just right, the results can be glorious.”

Restructure teams and re-assign responsibilities to find this balance. An individual who feels energized by his or her work, instead of drained or bored, will be a greater asset to the team.

Give your team a raise. Like showing appreciation, paying your top talent the salary they deserve proves that you’re invested in them. Your team members aren’t expenses that take away from your bottom line. They’re the power behind the company, fueling it towards projected sales and growth. Viewing them as anything less causes low morale and high turnover.

Consider the cost of the alternative: losing your well-seasoned talent to another company. A recent Inc. article estimates that replacing a key team member can cost the company up to 150 percent of the departing individual’s annual salary. The non-financial ripples caused by the loss can be just as taxing. Lower productivity, loss of momentum on a large project or instability could put unnecessary strain on your remaining team and force them to jump ship as well.

If you’re company absolutely can’t afford to give raises right now, offer your team other perks. Flexible hours, remote days or an occasional “Summer Friday” could help make up for the compensation deficit. In fact, in a study done by Ultimat Vodka, 75 percent of employed adults aged 21+ who do not currently enjoy “Summer Fridays” agreed that having the perk would boost morale.

Like you would in the gym, leaders must go to work every day prepared to put in the time and work necessary to keep their top talent engaged. It may not always be easy, but the end result ­– a happier, more productive team – is worth it.

This article originally appeared on SmallBizDaily.