Simple ways to make your employees happier

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Foster their creativity

Adam Kleinberg: Create a policy that symbolizes the things you stand for. At Traction, we have a Burning Man policy that "prioritizes requests for time-off -- even if people have no vacation time left -- to attend events that inspire or enhance professional and/or creative development such as Burning Man or SXSW." As a creative agency, it shows how what we value aligns, and I think my people take it as a point of pride that they work for a company that puts creativity first. Obviously, a Burning Man policy isn't for every company, but the notion of being creative about the "rules" to do something symbolic is powerful.

Karl Martin: Have meetings to connect and really embrace creativity. Honor all suggestions -- but make them short and fun!

Recognize them as individuals

Patrick Acosta: I think it depends who you are talking to (and it's much too long to explain on Facebook), but making a Millennial happy versus a Generation Xer versus a Boomer are very different things. Know who you are talking to, ask them what makes them happy (not money, as money is never really a sustainable model and is quickly forgotten versus going to SXSW, for example). Make sure they love what they are doing, or you will never really see them happy. Yes, this may mean losing them, but greatness is rarely found from someone who is truly not passionate.

James Schroer: First, quit thinking of them as "employees"! That sucks. It sounds like "paid slaves." Instead, try "colleagues." Everyone will be much prouder, happier, and successful together!

Philip Vogel: The Golden Rule: You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
-- Zig Ziglar, "Secrets of Closing the Sale," 1984.