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National Center for Organization Development

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Civility, Respect, and Engagement in the Workplace (CREW)


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What is CREW?

Civility, Respect, and Engagement in the Workplace (CREW) is a VA-wide culture change initiative. First launched in 2005 by the VHA National Center for Organization Development (NCOD) in response to employee feedback that low levels of civility affected their level of job satisfaction.  It has since been utilized by over 1,200 VA workgroups to establish a culture of respect and civility in their organization.Crew Logo 

  • Civility  is an essential behavior of all employees in all organizations. These are the interpersonal “rules of engagement” for how we relate to each other, our customers, and our stakeholders; the fundamentals of courtesy, politeness, and consideration. 
  • Respect connects us at a personal level. It reflects an attitude developed from deep listening and understanding, cultural and personal sensitivity, and compassion. It honors all the participants in an interaction by creating a safe place to have difficult conversations and leads to an environment of honesty and mutual trust.
  • Engagement is the result of respectful relationships within an atmosphere of trust. It provides all staff with the charge, the parameters, the training and the support to make decisions “on the spot” in the best interest of the veteran.

 

The goal of CREW is to improve the work climate through more civil and respectful interactions.  Historically, trained facilitators met regularly with identified groups for approximately six months with the intent to give the group the necessary time to focus on creating a respectful and civil work environment. Facilitators came to the meetings prepared to facilitate discussions, encourage problem-solving efforts, and conduct exercises and activities that could help improve how the group participants related to one another.  The regular meetings provided a forum for discussions of how to improve the work environment as well as provide a place to practice new behaviors and ways of interacting so these can become the norm.  CREW is not magic; the changes will not happen over night.  The facility leadership, the workgroup’s manager, as well as the group members themselves, must be committed to and willing to engage in the process.

There is no manual for CREW so the content of CREW meetings may look very different at each site. However, the initiative was originally structured similarly in that each facility identified a CREW coordinator to organize the initiative, CREW facilitators to run CREW meetings, and workgroups to participate in the meetings.  With the transition of CREW to the local facilities, sites may decide on the structure that works best locally. 

Does CREW look the same at each site?

There is no manual for CREW so the content of CREW meetings may look very different at each site. However, the initiative was originally structured similarly in that each facility identified a CREW coordinator to organize the initiative, CREW facilitators to run CREW meetings, and workgroups to participate in the meetings.  With the transition of CREW to the local facilities, sites may decide on the structure that works best locally. 

 

What are the benefits of CREW?

CREW research has found that civility impacts a variety of factors that are of importance to administrators, clinicians, and non-clinical staff, including higher overall job satisfaction, increased intent to stay in the current position, reduced sick leave usage, fewer EEO complaints, and better patient care outcomes. 

How do I learn more about CREW?

If making an inquiry from outside of the VA you may contact NCOD at: 513.247.4680 or vhancod@va.gov

If making an inquiry from within the VA you may view the CREW Pulse Page at: https://www.vapulse.net/groups/crew/pages/overview


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