As an employee retention speaker and author, I am a major proponent of expecting positive behaviors from people. I differentiate between your corporate values and positive behaviors. Most of the value systems I see tend to be more general in nature and leave room for a lot of interpretation on the part of employees. What I am talking about is specifically articulating the behaviors in a positive way instead of telling people what they are not supposed to do. A couple of examples of positive behaviors I have seen are:
- I will honor my commitments including being on time for meetings.
- I will be open and candid with my fellow employees
I like the behaviors to be very specific and down-to-earth. All too often the value systems that are put forth are lofty goals that don’t have the specificity needed so that employees clearly understand how they are expected to act. The reason I like setting positive behaviors is that everyone is brought up differently and has been taught to act in a certain way. That way may not be consistent with what the organization expects. In some cases, your employees may not even been taught how to behave at all!
Why is this so important from an employee retention strategies standpoint? I regularly see people leave an organization because of the way they were treated by their co-workers, much less their boss. Eliminate this as a possible issue and tell your employees what you expect…clearly and concisely and in terms everyone can understand. Leave no doubt.
When helping organizations build employee retention surveys as an employee retention expert and then reading the results, it is astonishing how inappropriately co-workers act towards one another. If you want to drive a culture of employee retention, don’t leave it to chance. Tell people the positive behaviors you expect them to exhibit. If they act contrary to those behaviors, call them on it and you will be well on your way to building a positive culture where people want to stay.