Haven’t you heard? Money doesn’t buy happiness. Making sure your staff are happy as pigs in mud doesn’t have to be complicated. But depending on the status of your business and its culture, you may need to be open to a few changes to keep your team as your team. Happy employees work hard and stick around. Here are eight ways to make sure your best team members don’t jump ship.

Recognize & Reward

Giving recognition where recognition is due is a hugely motivating factor for employees. They want to feel appreciated for how hard they’ve worked and subsequently be rewarded for that. But that reward doesn’t have to come in the form of a raise. Think about sending them to a fancy dinner with their significant other, to the theatre, a sporting event or just giving them an extra day off (no work email allowed). It’s the little things that count when it comes to happy staff.

Know Your Team

Knowing the job description, project record or monthly sales average of your staff is one thing. But knowing their partner’s name, whether they live in a house or apartment, and what their hobbies are is quite another. Plan one-on-one sessions with your staff and get to know them; it builds trust and lets them know you have their back. Know what’s going on so that they not only feel like you care, they also recognize that you genuinely do care.

Be Transparent

No matter what business you’re in, there will be times of positivity and times of strife. Be open and honest with your staff throughout each type of period in your business. Respect them enough to let them in on the true status of the company, good or not so. Communicating in this way helps employees to feel like they know what’s going on with their employers and makes them feel like an important part of your business (because they are. Duh).

Flexibility Rocks

Work/life balance is all the rage, and for good reason. Employees increasingly want a solid career and a great personal life. (Shocking, no?) Not many actually have it. Help your staff by being flexible with their work hours if possible. Trust them that when they leave work early to coach their daughter’s soccer team, they’ll get their work done from home later that evening.

Don’t Pretend

Ideally, you want to be on the same level as your staff but have them respect you and look up to you as the leader of your organization. This can be a tough balance for even the best bosses because, inevitably, you must make organizational decisions that may not be popular among staff. But by taking your leadership role seriously and avoiding pretending to be “everybody’s friend,” you maintain the respect your staff has for you, even when you’re not the most popular person in the room.

No Atmospheric Pressure

There’s nothing worse than having an office space that’s masquerading as a dentist’s office from the 1980s. Creating a space that is comfortable yet promotes productivity will go a long way for employee happiness. Try providing healthy food and drinks in the break room, potted plants on the windowsill and arrange comfortable chairs with side tables to encourage staff to gather around something other than someone’s computer monitor.

Nix the Emails

Scratch the above. There’s nothing worse than coming into work to find 1,477 new emails in your inbox – 1,475 of them from management (two from the office cat). It can also be very stressful to hear your smartphone dinging away with email notifications while you’re trying to have dinner with your family. If you absolutely need to send an email, mark it urgent; the rest can wait until the following day for a face-to-face or phone conversation.

Too Many Perks

Is there such a thing? Apparently yes, when it comes to employee happiness. Lavish perks like massages, gaming tables and consoles, trips to the movies and free lunches make it easier for your staff to come to work but it doesn’t necessarily make them happier about it. Remember: a happy employee feels like a valued part of your team. You don’t need a seven-course meal for lunch every Thursday to show them they matter.

Written by Jess Campbell