11 Nicest Things CEOs Have Done for Their Employees
What goes around, comes around, right? These CEOs have taken that lesson to heart—and in the process, they’ve changed their employees’ lives.
1. The Boss That Helped a Grieving Father Preserve His Son’s Memory
For nearly 15 years, Ray Olson has meticulously maintained a memorial to his son, the younger Raymond Olson, who was killed in a crash involving a drunk driver in 2003. There was just one problem: The memorial stood on a piece of Chevron property that needed an upgrade. Thankfully, Chevron executive Joe Lorenz teamed up with Cesar Zepeda, president of a California neighbourhood council, to build a permanent memorial at a nearby park, complete with a bench and plaque with a photo of Olson’s son. “It shows you people do still care,” Olson told NBC News. “The world has hope.”
2. The Boss That Lent a Grieving Company His Ear
Ingar Skaug’s first CEO position was no ordinary gig. A few months before his first day, tragedy had struck Wilh. Wilhelmsen, an international shipping company in Scandinavia, when a plane carrying two levels of its management team crashed and killed all 50 passengers on board. Eager to get the company back on its feet, Skaug spent time listening and empathizing with his grieving employees. “I had to work at keeping my mouth shut and my ears open,” Skaug told forbes.com. “I walked around and asked a lot of questions. And I’d look into my employees’ eyes. It told me a lot.” One year later, the company is on a path to success and thriving.
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3. The Boss That Took a Pay Cut… And Gave Everyone Else a Raise
Whoever said money can’t buy happiness? In 2015, Dan Price, CEO of the credit card processing firm Gravity Payments, slashed his million-dollar salary down to $70,000—a 90 per cent pay cut, according to the New York Times. He used the savings to raise his employees’ salaries to the exact same amount. When Price announced the raises to the staff, “my jaw just dropped,” said employee Phillip Akhavan. “This is going to make a difference to everyone around me.” Price made the decision after reading a study showing that personal happiness improves until one’s salary reaches $70,000, after which happiness stops increasing.
4. The Boss That Gives His Employees “Workcations”
Swiss entrepreneur Christian Mischler believes that his staff should be able to work whenever—and wherever—they want. Inc.com reported that the employees of his company HotelQuickly, a hotel booking app, can work from anywhere in world and choose their start and finish times, as well as workday duration. According to Mischler’s philosophy, not only does this make his employees more productive, but it also provides a healthier work-life balance. The only catch? Their work still needs to get done.
5. The Boss That Goes on Nationwide Motorcycle Tours
Some say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but Harry Herington, CEO of the information service provider NIC Inc., takes the opposite approach. He builds trust among his employees by visiting NIC branches across the nation via motorcycle. Called “Ask the CEO,” his trips always include a dinner where Herington’s employees can ask him business and non-business related questions. “They see me in a different light. They see me as human—and not trying to be one of them, and not trying to be something I’m not,” Herington told the New York Times. “That really did change my entire perspective.”
6. The Boss That Donated a Kidney
When a long-time firm employee needed a life-saving kidney transplant in 2010, Matthew Deffebach, a partner at Houston Haynes and Boone labor and employment, went above and beyond his role as a boss and came to the employee’s rescue. According to Business Insider, the man who needed the transplant is the father of a six-year-old son, and “Deffebach said he could not stand the idea of the son growing up without a father.”
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7. The Boss That Runs a Company Microbrewery
Forget grabbing a beer with your staff—CEO Andrew Fingerman of PhotoShelter, a website for photographers, brews it. Fingerman hosts a microbrewery in the office every month, purchasing supplies and inviting team members to stay after hours and “move the beer along” if they wish, according to Fast Company. But when all is said and done, there’s more to gain than just sipping on a pint of homemade brew. “Because group members range across teams and seniority, inevitably we talk about work challenges and ideas,” Fingerman said. “We also get to know each other as friends. It brings us closer together, and some very innovative ideas have emerged.”
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8. The Boss That Surprised Employees with a Hefty Bonus
Instead of pocketing the money from the sale of his online food ordering company Yemeksepeti in 2015, co-founder and CEO Nevzat Aydin gave his employees the surprise of a lifetime. To reward the staff for their hard work and talent, the entrepreneur divvied up the equivalent of $27 million among his 114 staff members. His employees were stunned, and some even cried. “Yemeksepeti’s success story did not happen overnight,” Aydin told CNNMoney. “I believe in teamwork, and I believe success is much more enjoyable and glorious when shared with the rest of the team.”
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9. The Boss That Started a Book Club
Looking for company bonding time outside of your cubicle? Welcome to Mark D’s Book Club, a venture started by Mark Dankberg, CEO of ViaSat, a broadband services and technology company. The idea began as an effort to facilitate engagement and the exchange of ideas across the company’s global team. Dankberg’s employees read books on business strategy, leadership, and innovation and discuss them in a group setting. “It has become a way for the ViaSat employees to better know how we think, how we view the world, and how we make decisions,” Dankberg told Fast Company. “And it helps each employee be more prepared in shaping their own career development.”
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10. The CEO That Wrote Letters to Her Employees’ Families
When Indra Nooyi became CEO of PepsiCo in 2006, she would never have guessed how proud the promotion would make her parents back in India, and how well it would reflect on their parenting skills. “It dawned on me that…I’d never told [my employees’] parents what a great job [they] had done for [their kids]. I’d never done that,” she told Fortune magazine in 2014. So Nooyi put pen to paper and began to write letters. “I said, ‘Therefore, I’m writing to thank you for the gift of your son, who is doing this at PepsiCo, and what a wonderful job this person is doing.'” Some parents were so touched that they even wrote back to Nooyi, and she says it built a sense of loyalty among her employees.
11. The Bosses That Give Staffers Paid Time Off When They Get a Puppy
We’ve all heard of maternity leave, paternity leave, and even family leave. But puppy leave? It’s true. In fact, many companies—some 5 per cent, according to PetPlan—now offer employees the opportunity to bond with their fur baby and introduce house training. Mars Petcare, BitSol Solutions, and BrewDog are among those offering “pawternity leave,” and a growing trend is companies allowing time off, from one to three days, after the loss of a pet for bereavement.
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