As a professional conference and keynote speaker, I obviously believe in the power of communication—but leaders, let me ask you something: Do you believe in it? Do you understand communication to be one of the keys to engagement and productivity on your team? And if so, how are you actively improving your communications with team members and employees?

I’m asking these questions rather pointedly because it is that important. Study after study confirms that many businesses lose tens of thousands of dollars each year due to insufficient communication between leaders and their employees.

By contrast, the right standards of communication can help you improve engagement on your team—leading to better culture, better productivity, and better retention.

Here are some tips I recommend for any leader looking to improve communication with the team:

Be willing to get personal with your employees. This doesn’t mean you have to suddenly start showing up at their kids’ basketball games, but do make sure you know them by name and can engage them on a topic that isn’t strictly work-related. Show that your investment in them goes beyond the workplace.

Ask for feedback—and listen to it. Solicit the suggestions and opinions of your team members. Give them a voice in key decisions and in the general shape of the company. You don’t have to take every suggestion, obviously—but do give them the respect of genuine engagement. Starting an employee engagement survey is a good place to begin.

Recognize your employees for their achievements. Employee recognition is a key ingredient to employee retention. When a team member accomplishes something significant, offer public praise and affirmation.

Leave on a positive note. As a leader, you set the emotional tone for your entire team. Be mindful of the emotional imprint you leave on your team members; when an encounter with an employee ends, make sure you end on a positive note—letting the team member feel confident and inspired, not down or despairing.

Walk the walk. A key component in workplace communication: Do what you say you are going to do. When you signal, either verbally or nonverbally, that you are going to take a certain action, make sure you follow through with it. Build trust through integrity.

What tips would you add? Let me know about some of your secrets to successful communication in the workplace.