We are living in a time where team retention is elusive and showing up for an interview appears optional. The more people I talk to and articles I read about hiring, the more I realize that  every industry is affected. No one is immune to the struggle of finding and maintaining employees. You may have seen meme’s on FaceBook or Instagram that say something like “I will pay anyone who shows up.”  Wow! The desperation employers are feeling to find help is sad to me.

Today, my focus is to add value to you by providing an effective resource for your next team meeting. This collaborative exercise allows team members to be creative and to share the value’s that are important to them. As you work through this exercise, the team will be engaged and the leaders will recognize the common values to enhance the company’s vision and alignment for positive growth. Knowing our values helps us understand what drives us.  By defining your core values and considering the core values of your team, you increase the potential for job satisfaction and success.

Let’s get to it!


The purpose of this exercise is to design a Core Value Statement that represents the teams agreed upon priorities for a safe, healthy and successful working environment.


First, allow about an hour for this exercise if you have 5 or more employees. (30-45 minutes for 1-4 employees) If you have a large group of 10 or more, consider breaking into groups and then come together to finalize. Some clients I have worked with have done this for each department. Ideally, knowing the big picture Core Value Statement for the company is the first step. Then creating one for each department is a great idea to hone in on your specific team’s needs!!

Second, compile a list of about 100 value words from A-Z. Words such as, Accuracy, Honesty, Integrity, etc. If you would like the document I use for this activity, please email me and I’ll send it to you. amy@bridgethegapcs.com. Otherwise, Google has lists of value words you can have available for your team to reference.

Once everyone has the same values list, ask them to work independently and circle the TOP 10 words that are most important to them. This typically takes 5-7 minutes. To give more guidance, preface with something like this, “Out of this list, what value words resonate with you? What do you need from a workplace to be successful?” In addition, if they think of a word not on the list, that is great, they can write it on the paper and circle it.

Next, one employee will start by saying their TOP 10 words out loud. As each word is being said, anyone in the group who has the same value word on their list raises their hand. The note taker is keeping a tally of how many people share the same value word. For example, if the word is “Integrity” and 3 people all have that on their list, the notetaker puts a 3 next to Integrity on their paper. As each employee takes a turn to share their value words, you will start to see the value words that are the most common for the group. I’ve done this exercise over 300 times and it is always different! The dynamics of your group will determine the outcome.

This next part is my favorite!!

Ok, so now everyone has shared their Top 10 values, and you have the tally of the value words that are most common among your group. Get your creative juices flowing because the team is going to create an acronym that encompasses the TOP Values.

For example: The common words from the group are collaboration, respect, organized, educated, compassionate. Take the first letter of each word to see if it creates a word. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. So in this case we have, C,C,R,O,E. No problem!! You can use synonyms!!

This is a dental office I worked with and they decided they wanted their acronym to be C.R.O.W.N. We had almost all of the letters!! So, the team used C for “Collaboration”, R for “Respect”, O for “Organized”, W for “Wisdom” (in place of educated) and N for “Nurturing” (in place of compassionate).

They collaborated and were completely engaged. They wanted a word that represented a high level of care and something that would be a constant reminder. Now, every time they hear or say “Crown” it has a whole new meaning. They are reminded of the core values that are important to their character and the success of the office, in addition to the patient care and expertise it takes to deliver quality care.

Some of you will take this exercise and add it to your next meeting!! That’s awesome! Please let me know how it goes. Others would like some guidance with facilitation. If that is you, please reach out and I am happy to help facilitate a virtual or in-person meeting. I’ve facilitated hundreds of team meeting with different activities. The feedback I receive from teams and leaders about this activity is an instant positive effect on team morale. They appreciate the collaboration because everyone feels heard and a part of something bigger.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

If you are interested in a more in-depth look at Team Retention, I wrote a White Paper on Team Retention a few years ago that discusses more details, strategies and statistics. If you would like a copy, please email me amy@bridgethegapcs.com or go to my website and download it for free. www.bridgethegapconsultingservices.com