By now most business owners understand why employee engagement matters to their organization. What still eludes many companies is what steps should be taken to increase employee engagement at their organization. One area that has a great impact on employee engagement, productivity and job satisfaction is open communication. Creating a company culture where feedback is encouraged and valued may seem complicated, but recent article from Harvard Business Review gives three easy things you can do today to start the process.

1- Show appreciation. The best way to encourage feedback from your employees is to give feedback. Feedback doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) all negative. To start the process, provide positive feedback to your employees. Recognize the efforts of your employee and show sincere thanks for the work that they do. Focus on offering at least five positive piece of feedback for each negative piece offered. Download our free Employee Recognition Toolkit for more ideas.

2- Open up. Make sure that you are practicing active listening skills and displaying positive body language when you are approached by employees. If employees are met with defensive leadership anytime they come forward with a question, concern, or idea, they will quickly learn that communication is not valued. Be aware of the message you are sending when employees are communicating with you.

3- Be inclusive early and often. Work to break down barriers and prevent new barriers from growing between departments. It is easy for an organization to fall into departmental silos. Be aware of that nature and work to prevent it when possible. Find opportunities for all employees to feel included in decision-making for the organization.

These three simple steps can help you begin to create a culture when communication flows freely across departments, from the top down and the bottom up. This should be a constant work in progress. Keeping an eye on these three things will help you maintain an open feedback loop at your organization over time.