The Importance of Giving Your Employees CRAP
Kortes delivers proven strategies for boosting retention and loyalty
By Rindi White
Jeff Kortes headshot
Jeff Kortes will deliver the keynote address at the Associated General Contractors of Alaska convention November 10 to 13 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Kortes


eff Kortes knows the construction industry. During his twenty-five years in human resources, he worked in a variety of industries including construction, providing HR duties for companies large and small.

“We built cooling towers for refineries and power plants for organizations all over the Lower 48,” he says.

He’s also a US Army veteran. He says the basis for employee retention is the same wherever the job is: you retain quality employees by showing them Caring, Respect, Appreciation, and Praise, or CRAP. That’s the funny acronym Kortes uses to help companies shift their focus to a people-first mentality.

“If you’re not giving your employees CRAP, you won’t keep them. If you’re doing the things that disrespect people, you’re not there in their time of need, you’ll lose people—even if they’re well-paid,” he says.

In a nutshell, that’s what Kortes will be telling the audience when he speaks at the AGC of Alaska Annual Convention on November 12. As a professional “headhunter” for the past twelve years—seeking out talented individuals for his clients and wooing them with good pay, good benefits, and employee-forward work environments—he can attest to the fact that employees who receive a lot of CRAP are loyal and willing to go the extra mile for their employer. It’s a philosophy he believes in so much that he wrote a book about it: “Give Your Employees CRAP (Caring, Respect, Appreciation, Praise) and 7 Other Secrets to Employee Retention.” Kortes says everyone who attends his keynote address can take a book home with them.

Give Your Employees C.R.A.P. and 7 Other Secrets to Employee Retention cover
Kortes’s book outlines his philosophy on boosting employee retention and loyalty in depth. Keynote attendees will be able to take a copy home with them.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Kortes

“Who better to talk to you about employee retention than someone who steals talent? That’s part of the reason I stayed working as a headhunter—it keeps me very current,” he says.

Kortes says he spends about half his time pairing talented employees with clients and the other half speaking or holding workshops for clients interested in building a better environment to help retain quality employees. His philosophy bears out among those who follow it, he says.

“My clients, the people I speak to regarding employee workshops, if they listen to my discussions and embrace them, they have seen reductions in turnover from 40 to 80 percent,” he says.

That ratio is effective at smaller businesses with fewer than 100 employees as well as at those with thousands of employees at multiple locations.

Find out more about Kortes at his website, or watch an introductory video at
Rindi White is the editor of The Alaska Contractor magazine.