Frequently Asked Questions

Who’s included?
What is a CREW Facilitator?
What is a CREW Coordinator?
How Does CREW Work?
Why does CREW work?
What research supports CREW’s claims of success?
How did CREW begin?
What is an intervention?
Our organization is facing economic challenges. Can we afford the CREW Solution?
What does the first session look like?
How do we get started with CREW?
What is the Role of the Manager?
How do you deal with the instigator, the troublemaker, the bully?
How do you select facilitators?
There is going to be varying degrees of readiness. Not everybody in the unit will be ready to participate. How do you deal with this?
What if you only have 6 people out of a 40 person team that wants to participate?
How did already busy staff get the time to participate in CREW?
Is the intervention program success linked to facilitator or the CREW material?
Do the facilitators keep in touch?
Do most groups go through the CREW material in the same order?
How to Maintain CREW Momentum

Who’s included?

All employees who regularly participate in a team/workgroup/department are invited to participate. CREW has successfully been implemented in a variety of workgroups: administrative and government departments, executive leadership groups, medical units, maintenance, police, housekeeping and dietary.

If you have a group of people, CREW can work for you.

What is a CREW Facilitator?

CREW facilitators run CREW meetings in workgroups across your site. We recommend that two facilitators co-lead CREW workgroup meetings. CREW facilitators need to prepare for each CREW meeting by talking to their co-facilitator and coordinator about an agenda for the meeting, identifying appropriate tools or activities to use in the group and communicating how the group went to their CREW coordinator after each session. They often handle logistics related to the meeting, such as securing a room for the meeting and bringing any needed materials. In general, they will need to spend about 2 hours/week on CREW related activities, which includes preparing for and running CREW meetings for one workgroup.

What is a CREW Coordinator?

CREW coordinators are responsible for coordinating the CREW initiative at your site. This involves responsibilities such as the marketing of the CREW program at your site, recruitment of CREW facilitators and the identification of CREW workgroups. CREW coordinators communicate regularly with Leadership, Labor Partners, CREW facilitators and your assigned ML&A companion, who will help guide you through the CREW process. CREW coordinators may serve as a CREW facilitator as well. Time requirements for CREW coordinators vary throughout the duration of the CREW program, with more time needed during the initial roll-out of CREW at your site and at the beginning of each successive wave of CREW. Initially, a coordinator should expect to spend approximately 3-4 hours/week (sometimes more, especially if they are also facilitating groups) on CREW related activities.

How Does CREW Work?

CREW operates through a series of meetings in which employees strive to enhance the quality of interactions among team members. Working groups identify focus issues, set goals for improving teamwork, and evaluate progress towards these goals. Group facilitators receive training and materials to guide their work. A mentoring process brings together facilitators to assure support and knowledge sharing. As one cohort completes its six-month CREW initiative, it passes the torch to colleagues who are beginning the process. CREW is a series of conversations and discussions

Why does CREW work?

CREW combines managerial support with employee initiative. The program builds on a profound managerial commitment to civility. With this foundation, employees apply lessons from group sessions to their day-to-day interactions with one another. CREW works because it addresses core issues for employees’ work engagement.

What research supports CREW’s claims of success?

The 250,000-member U.S. Veterans Hospital Administration has implemented this program in hundreds of settings. They have recorded the impact on employees’ civility, absences, and turnover, as research has established that CREW has a major impact: emotional, operational, and financial. CREW also has a positive impact on client/patient satisfaction. CREW Canada has documented similar successes in the settings in which we have implemented. See the Results Are In flyer

How did CREW begin?

The program works on trust, respect, and engagement and gives the employees the authority to interact and work with others. The underlying notion is that if we create this civil and respectful environment, it will better serve the organization and our clients.

The CREW method was the response to identified issues emerging from employee surveys conducted in the U.S. Veterans Hospital Administration. In the initial pilot, 10 sites were selected including small and large medical centres, groups in central areas, and a virtual group. The Veterans organization is now entering its eighth wave of organizations.

What is an intervention?

An intervention is a group discussion. Typically a coordinator and group facilitators get people together (i.e., 15 minute huddles or shutting down a section for an hour to participate in CREW discussions). In the group discussion, facilitators and group members ask “what is civil behaviour in our work environment?” Facilitators are trained to conduct these conversations.

What was revealed over six months of progression:

  • Open and sharing dialogues expand;
  • Groups begin to talk about work flow;
  • Groups learn how to process issues.

Since they have basic ground rules about what basic behaviours are (civil and respectful), employees and employers have a common ground as a foundation to improving their collective worklife.

Our organization is facing economic challenges. Can we afford the CREW Solution?

CREW offers a solution that sweeps across an organization and includes leaders, managers, and employees. Over time, it changes the work atmosphere and creates positive changes for the top line (people) and the bottom line (productivity and profits) of an organization.

Our research has shown significant improvements to recruitment, retention, attendance, wellbeing, and customer service. Not to mention the time and aggravation saved for managers and employees caught up in negative work situations. Those benefits can be measured in dollars. We are confident in advising you that the benefits far outweigh the cost!

CREW is affordable and effective. Can you afford not to implement the CREW Solution?

What does the first session look like?

The first several sessions set the ground rules and make a "safe" environment. Working together, the group defines:

  • What is civil behaviour in our work environment?
  • What are norms of behaviour in the group?

Units may differ in their definitions. The important agreement is among the group. Once the group’s basic ground rules are set, then they can begin to tackle more difficult issues such as processes and work flows.

To start CREW in a workgroup, there is a celebration kickoff. Senior leaders come to launch the initiative and to say “We support CREW; we really think this is an important process.” And, have the leaders describe why they think it is important. This upfront support allows the facilitator to go back to leadership expectations about the policy and ground rules during group sessions.

How do we get started with CREW?

Contact Michael Leiter & Associates for your FREE initial consultation.

Once you have your CREW contract in place, it is very important to have a really strong facilitator, skilled and prepared, with ground rules and firm control over the group. The CREW training provides that.

What is the Role of the manager?

Managers have to be recognized for their contributions. They are leading the way by allowing their group cultures to grow and change – all the while providing quality service. Leadership support is essential to the process.

How do you deal with the instigator, the troublemaker, the bully?

Once there is a safe, strong group, individuals in the groups will start to speak up. They will enforce the ground rules because they are supported. Civil behaviours will become ingrained into the work culture. There is no longer tolerance or an atmosphere that accepts aggressive or negative behaviour. Just as importantly, the “troublemaker’s” real issues can be addressed.

How do you select facilitators?

Match facilitator with those who are strong in group process – instinctively knowing how to deal with different kinds of people in groups (i.e. the bully, the wallflower, the complainer). We recommend co-facilitation as part of the process. If you have a large department, we recommend that it be broken up into smaller, more manageable size groups of about 15 to 20 people.

There is going to be varying degrees of readiness. Not everybody in the unit will be ready to participate. How do you deal with this?

The readiness litmus test is done at the leadership level, not at the group level. Discussion takes place with senior leadership, but included in that discussion is union or employee representation and the supervisor of the group that has been identified.

If senior leadership goes to the first meeting and talks about their endorsement of CREW, it helps employees understand that the employees aren’t being identified for negative reasons, but to increase employee satisfaction and to increase morale in the workplace.

There is going to be varying degrees of readiness itself – as they are being ‘forced’, but it is a voluntary process. Ultimately internal peer pressure occurs, people start to see that there are some small successes, and as behaviours start to change, others get onboard. The key is bringing everyone in for discussion from the beginning.

What if you only have 6 people out of a 40 person team that wants to participate?

Even though it was voluntary, so far, the CREW Solution has not encountered a group where all members of a group did not choose to participate. We credit that to strong leadership messaging and an honest desire from employees to improve their experience at work. Those few participants will start to change and grow and others will eventually join the process.

How did already busy staff get the time to participate in CREW?

The key is leadership support and creativity. Organizations supported their employees in various ways. In some units compensation/overtime pay was provided, while other units organized sessions during a shift change when people were coming and going. Some decided that they would provide extra coverage from other units so that employees could find time. In shift work areas, some groups chose to do shorter group meetings with smaller steps instead of having people stay over longer periods of time. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time; it just needs to have coordinators and managers in discussion about using time well. It works because staff have permission to discuss issues; encourage them to take responsibility for their actions; and fosters group accountability and engagement.

Is the program success linked to facilitator or the CREW material?

Nothing works in isolation. Success with the CREW Solution depends on a combination of facilitator, content, and the group itself. Already high-functioning groups will typically spend less time on civility and respect items and deal more with process and their business. Other groups need to focus more on civility before mastering other areas of the process. CREW is not a quick fix for a group that is really troubled. That situation developed over time, and the solution will take time as well.

Do the facilitators keep in touch?

All facilitators and coordinators are linked together. Within the organization, they meet on a regular basis. There is also an email distribution list including all facilitators and coordinators from across organizations. This group acts as a supportive community to share ideas. It can provide PowerPoint presentations to share, good books to read, and answer questions. There are also monthly calls for updates. This is a community comprised of people who understand various work situations and in which all coordinators and facilitators participate to overcome them.

Do most groups go through the CREW material in the same order?

There are some guidelines from CREW:

  • A rough sketch of the timeline that gets shared at the kick-off meeting;
  • General parameters to help people gauge where they are in the process;
  • A Toolkit is available for your facilitators to use.

Based on the survey responses and with guidance from your CREW coach, the facilitator for each workgroup will determine which components of the toolkit to use.

How to Maintain the CREW Momentum

Organizations have maintained CREW in a variety of fashions:

  • Including CREW Principles Overview in their new employee orientation,
  • Having regular CREW check-ins in the workgroup,
  • Adding a CREW component to the regular staff meetings, and
  • Continuing to recognize and reward CREW-like behaviour.

 


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