Employee appreciation is more than just trending. It’s absolutely vital to keeping your employees happy and your business thriving. In business and beyond, happiness means motivation, and motivation means greater productivity.In one study, half of employees said work happiness was a result of feeling appreciated. And research also shows that employees who feel appreciated reduce the turnover rate at their companies. And that’s some good, resource-saving news for leaders like you. And if that’s not enough reason to up your appreciation game, you should know that lack of employee appreciation can quickly result in a disengaged workforce. And employees acknowledge it too. In one study, more than half of respondents said employers could increase engagement simply by giving some recognition. But in today’s millennial driven workplace, where immediacy is king, employees want recognition for their work right away--not only at the holiday bash.Today, the majority of recognition in the workplace is given to employees who’ve achieved some tenure. If you want to encourage the rest of your team to stay around that long, a 10-year pin isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to show recognition where it’s due--among the everyday people who work so hard to keep your company afloat.While the holiday brings with it a unique time to show appreciation, there are plenty of little things you can do throughout the year to keep morale up and let each team member know they matter. So how can you show recognition throughout the year in effective and cost-efficient ways? Here are four ways to show your people you appreciate them (and improve productivity too)! Give them a shout-out (and tell their story)When somebody on the team does a remarkable job, highlight them on social media and in your company blog. Not only will they feel good to see their name up in proverbial lights, but sharing their story, approach to work, etc, can provide a motivational learning opportunity for others on your team as well. Including fun-facts or the individual’s professional (or personal) goals can also help build a sense of community between team members. Implement a points systemThis might seem like a grade-school move, but when employees have a defined system under which they can control their bonuses, they’ll be more motivated to work hard. Not only does it fuel the competitive streak of humanity, but it levels the playing field to give everyone a fair opportunity to take home some extra vacation, bonus money, etc.Encourage their voicesExecutives aren’t the only ones who can have good ideas. Nothing says “you matter” like giving employees an open forum to voice their ideas, opinions, and feedback. And you never know. While you’re generating good morale among your team, you might also come across your company’s next great idea. Just tell themEmployee appreciation doesn’t have to be loud, expensive, or gimmicky. Learn the names of everyone on your team, from the folks at the top to the summer interns--and use them frequently. Take every opportunity to tell your team members just how much you appreciate their work, and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards of employees who want to do their best.