As an employee retention speaker and employee retention author, rules drive me crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in rules because they promote an environment where people don’t abuse each other and add a semblance of order. But, rules are not the best way to get to an environment of C.R.A.P. (Caring, Respect, Appreciation, and Praise). The best way to get to C.R.A.P. is to promote positive behaviors. It’s far better to tell people the behaviors you want than to tell people what behaviors you don’t want from them. Rules treat people like children. Encouraging positive behaviors promotes people taking responsibility and acting like adults.
Many organizations use values to attempt to promote acting positively. The problem is that most value systems are written by corporate leaders who have an MBA or a doctorate so they read like a thesis. Hence, most people (including me) can’t understand what behavior it is that the writer is looking to promote. For that reason, I like positive behaviors much more that values statements. Positive behaviors are straight forward, simple and easy to understand. An example of a positive behavior that I like is:
“Treat people with respect by listening to others and keeping an open mind.”
Instead of just telling people to treat someone with respect, tell them how to do it because everyone has a different idea of what might be respectful behavior. The example above is a quick one that I thought of off the top of my head.
This employee retention trainer believes that your organization’s positive behaviors need to be written by a cross-section of employees from all levels of the organization. This gives a perspective that is often lost on senior-level leaders. In fact, one of my clients went to the extent that they wrote the positive behaviors and then reviewed them in department meetings with ALL employees and asked for input to see what employees thought. Then, they incorporated changes into the behaviors they were looking to promote. Not only did they get some great ideas but they got buy in from their people. The behaviors were not jammed down the employee’s throats like many corporate policies. As a result, this employee retention consultant saw the workforce take hold of the behaviors and put them into practice and this created a more positive environment. This had the impact of driving employee retention as well because people prefer to be in a positive environment.
Positive behaviors, not rules are the answer. By treating employees like adults, you are showing respect AND developing a corporate culture that employees want to be a part of. Shift your mindset and be positive.