Increased communication in an office setting clearly improves productivity, motivation, and collaboration. Unfortunately, numerous employees feel voiceless at their jobs daily.

Many managers overlook the importance of getting to know their staff. Discovering what each employee enjoys doing, both in and out of work, creates a closer and more productive team. Encourage conversation about interests and hobbies and take note of what makes each team member tick. Not only do employees feel acknowledged, but managers gain important information they can use to better utilize and support each individual.

Open conversations will bring your team together better than many classic “ice-breaker” activities. Make your office a safe place for employees to raise concerns and brainstorm possible solutions. This will increase communication and collaboration while decreasing stress and disengagement. Retention will likely also improve since unhappy employees will feel comfortable talking about issues and they can be addressed. Something as simple as allowing for flexibility in their work schedule can create a world of difference not only in their personal lives, but also within their level of productivity and focus at work.

Create an atmosphere for co-workers to share ideas they have. Fostering ideation results in greater job satisfaction, engagement, learning, and creativity. Organizations also notice higher revenues and fewer errors.

Motivate your team by keeping them as involved as possible. Consider requesting feedback from all team members periodically. Ensure that responses will be received with an open mind and that those sharing feel safe from retribution. After a suggestion has been considered, remember to close the loop with the team. Otherwise it will seem like the request for feedback was insincere.

These methods help cultivate a supportive and encouraging culture, focused on across-the-board participation and communication.