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If you could conjure up your dream employee, they would probably be highly motivated, loyal, committed, innovative, and satisfied with all aspects of their job. But finding and retaining employees isn’t always so dreamy.

How do you keep employees engaged, productive, and committed to your mission so that they stay with your business? Reasons employees give for leaving jobs include low salary, poor management, and limited career growth.

Here are some steps you can take to keep your employees moving in the same direction as your business:

Set the right compensation and benefits. Before you agree on a salary or pay rate, look at current data on industry pay packages. Depending on your industry, your employees may also benefit from flexible work schedules or the option to work from home.

Invest in training. Getting an employee up to speed so that they can do their job properly and effectively can take significant investment of time and resources , but the better prepared they are for their new role the more likely that they will be successful.

Give them a voice. The more an employee is asked to give their input, use their creativity to make improvement and solve problems, and contribute to the health of the company, the more invested an employee will be in your company’s success.

And then listen. Employees should feel comfortable coming to their managers for assistance and answers to their questions or concerns. Managers should be available, take time to listen, and offer praise and recognition for positive results and efforts.

Set expectations. Being very clear about what needs to be done, when, and why will give your employees the context that they need to be successful.

Reward them. Even if you can’t always pull off monetary compensation, recognizing your employees’ talents, the value that they bring to your team, thanking them, and giving them credit will go a long way.

Offer room for advancement. An employee who knows their next step in your company will have something to work toward. This sense of purpose will help their performance in their current role.

Don’t forget to have fun. Make sure that your enthusiasm and passion for your business doesn’t create an all work and no play culture. If your employees are enjoying their time at work, they’re more likely to be with your company for the long haul.

One of the best business investments you can make is in the people that are your company. There are no shortcuts to building and managing an excellent staff.

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