Not every boss is as generous as Howard Cooper.

When the 83 year-old retired and sold his successful car dealership in Ann Arbor, he decided to say thank you to his staff by giving them $1000 for every year they were employed at his company. To some, this meant receiving a check for up to $46,000 – a sum of money most had never seen all at once.

When asked why he chose to be so generous, Cooper explained that he wanted to make as big of a difference in their lives as they had in his. This illustrates the kind of boss Cooper was. His employees stayed with the company, not because they had any idea they would be rewarded so generously, but because Cooper created the kind of atmosphere where employees wanted to stay.

Creating the same atmosphere can be possible in any organization by focusing on a few key areas.

Be Honest and Fair

As the saying goes “You reap what you sow.” You can’t expect your employees to be truthful with you if you aren’t being truthful with them. Making sure that your employees trust you will help keep them honest as well. Honesty breeds loyalty and your employees will come to recognize you and your organization as having integrity. Also, remember to always treat people with respect if you want to be respected in return. Many leaders wish to instill fear in their employees, but a good and thoughtful leader knows that fear and respect are vastly different.

Build a Communicative Environment

Employees won’t naturally feel that they can approach you with questions or concerns unless you encourage them to do so. These conversations shouldn’t feel awkward or threatening, but should be considered a sign that your employee is committed and invested in the success of the company. Being open to dialogue will only help the entire team find solutions together.

Effective management means building a community of individuals who are all involved in the company’s daily operations as well as creating an environment where people and ideas are truly encouraged and valued.

Genuinely Care, and Show It

The greatest resource your organization has is the people who come to work every day. Don’t view employees as employees, but as people first. Explore different ways in which you can truly connect with them and engage in fruitful dialogue. The more you know about your team members, their hobbies, dreams and goals, the more you’ll know about what they have to offer.

Also, once you see your team as actual people, you’ll be much more open to the idea of offering solutions that can help them do a better job, such as more flexible hours or telecommuting. This will in turn naturally breed loyalty as your employees will view your company as one that truly cares.

Give Employees the Chance to Shine

The more you get your staff involved in all aspects of the business, the more they will be allowed to shine. This will not only feed their need to be valued, but it will allow you to see the potential in certain employees that are ready to advance to the next level. Also, the more input your employees have in aspects of your business, the more invested they will become in the ultimate success of the company.

It’s not necessary to give employees $1000 for every year they’ve been with your company, but in order to create solid bonds and loyalty, you need to create an environment where the entire team can be heard and can feel valued.