Build a Value System of C.R.A.P.

As an employee retention speaker and employee retention expert, I talk about giving your employees C.R.A.P. all the time.  C.R.A.P. should be part of any organizational value system.  I always look at are the value system of an organization.  Then I ask questions about the values, what they mean and how the organization and leadership team demonstrates those values.  In most cases, the organization has them but people can’t tell me what they are!  In other cases, they tell me what they are but when asked “give me an example of how a leader would show those values,” I get the response, “I don’t know.”  My question is; then why do you even bother having them?  By having them and not demonstrating them, you come off as hypocritical which looks worse than not having them at all.

If you want employee retention, you need to have a CLEAR set of values that people can understand…not some fancy wording that looks like they were written by a lawyer or Harvard MBA that the average person can’t understand.  From an employee retention strategies perspective, people want clear guidelines on how to behave and what to expect from the organization.  Ambiguity is an employee retention killer.  Then you need to give examples in simple, plain language how to act when faced with a values situation like “integrity.”  All you need are four to six simple statements that describe actions an employee should take to act with integrity.  If you do this, your people will understand what THEY need to do.  If they understand, chances are they will act appropriately.

The next step is to talk about your values ALL THE TIME.  It is not enough to write them and let them sit on a shelf.  This should be part of an ongoing discussion that is led by all members of leadership but, in particular, senior leadership.  For example, at every all-company meeting, a senior leader should talk about one of the values.  This should occur on a regular basis.  This is like holding an internal civics class for all employees.  If they are not familiar with the values, the likelihood decreases that they will follow them.

Lastly, people need to be called out and held accountable when they don’t act according to the value system just like they would if they don’t hit productivity or profit numbers.  When that starts to happen, people will see that the values do matter and that they are expected to adhere to them as a member of the organization.

A well stated value system will enhance employee retention…especially if it is people focused.  They particularly want to know that the organization Cares about them, Respects them, Appreciates their contributions and will give them Praise when they deserve it.  C.R.A.P. works!

Jeff Kortes

Jeff Kortes is an employee retention expert who speaks and conducts workshops regularly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana. He draws on his experiences as a human resources professional, father, coach, martial artist and U.S. Army veteran to provide thought-provoking programs that yield results.