When it comes to employee engagement, there are common elements across most respected surveys. And when it comes to the effect of better employee engagement, most all respected surveys conclude that employees who are fulfilled in their work are more productive. It’s a win for employees. It’s a win for employers. And it’s a win for customers. Gallup’s third State of the American Workplace report is out. And while the report is a little dark, there’s a a pretty clear prescription to brighten things up. Gallup’s 12 Elements of Engagement isn’t just the place to start. It’s the place to be.

WHAT employees want

Here’s what matters to employees. Here’s what employees are looking for in their job. Here are some areas on which leadership can focus for immediate, positive effect, often by investing anything more than a little time, and a little simple but genuine humanity and compassion.

According to Gallup, employees simply want to know what’s expected of them. They want tools reasonably compatible with the work they’re asked to do. They want a little recognition (“recognition or praise”) from their boss, someone to engage them periodically about their progress. They want a “supervisor, or someone at work, [who] seems to care about me as a person.” (Wow. Someone. Not even someone who really cares, but someone who just seems to care.). They want their opinions to matter (a least a little, now and then, anyway). They want a mission that matters, a committed team, and a friend.

EASily engage every employee on your team

It starts with a conversation, a little direction to fellow leaders, a little ingenuity and innovation. Remember, according to Gallup, about 70 percent of employees just don’t care, at least don’t care enough to really strive to produce excellence, though many of those 70 percent are likely much more than capable of it. But before we blame the millennials, leaders might take a moment to reflect on those dozen keys to fulfilled employees.

While it might be really hard these days to scratch together some extra funds to send people to a high-end conference in New York City or Miami for a week, how hard is it to give employees a majority of those 12 elements they seek? If you’re a genuine leader, it’s not too hard.

According to Gallup—and according, I think, to even the most basic understanding of what it means to lead—“the 12 elements are proven performance management practices that can boost the outcomes of individuals, teams and the entire organization.”

And it’s just the right thing to do.

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Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.