How many people do you know that say they hate their job or their boss? Well, it’s called “work” and not “fun” for a reason. However, a work environment doesn’t have to be dull and oppressive. Employees don’t have to feel like they are chained to their desks all day. With some creative management techniques, you can enhance employee motivation and maybe even increase your employee retention.

One of the biggest morale boosters you can provide your employees is to give them a voice in some of the company’s operations. That doesn’t mean they should set the stock price or decide on a hostile takeover. Those are decisions correctly left to upper management and the board of directors. However, there are little things that affect the employees directly.

Managers should not try to fake this method. Listening to your employees’ input but implementing what you had already decided will only grow resentment. After all, employees can quickly figure out that none of their suggestions were chosen, even though those suggestions were the majority! Let your employees decide their own fates every once in a while and you will make them happier.

One office function that employees dread is the office party. For many companies this occurs during December’s holiday season. If your employees don’t like being at work with you, they certainly won’t want to spend their free time with you at a party. Employees also feel obligated to attend such parties; for fear that they will not be seen as a team player.

There is an easy solution to the office party problem. Let the employees vote on whether or not to have one! If the company is having a bad year, yet management throws an expensive holiday party, what kind of message does that send to the employees?

Have the employees vote on whether to have a big party, or to simply take the party money and divide it evenly among themselves. If the money would be spent anyway, shouldn’t it go directly to the employees that helped the company earn it?

If you think hard about similar functions that you “make” your employees do, you can probably imagine other ways to empower them. Perhaps a randomly chosen employee gets a paid Friday afternoon off once per month. Little things like allowing radios in offices or flexible work hours can make big differences in employee morale.

Show your employees that you really are listening to them, and give them a few extra benefits. You might just find yourself with a more loyal work force that stays longer with the company.