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12 real-Life proven ways to retain your best employees

by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

At Florida-based Baptist Hospital Inc., the CEO declared an all-out war on turnover, pulling out all the stops to tear down typical corporate walls and to retain his best workers. He decided to move out of the executive suite, eliminate executive perks, park the farthest away in the parking lot, give employees his home phone number if they have questions, make daily rounds of employees, write handwritten thank-you notes to employees and send his managers to a leadership academy.

That CEO is one of the corporate leaders who “gets it,” according to Greg Smith, author of the book 401 Proven Ways to Retain Your Best Employees. Here are a dozen more real-life examples of things that organizations have done in recent years to keep their workers satisfied and in their seats:

  1. A CEO who used to give $200 cash spot bonuses started giving high performers keys to a new BMW for the week. (Smith: “People would forget about the $200 within a month, but they never forgot the BMW.”)

  2. Appreciation phone calls from the CEO—at home.

  3. Monthly "Rumor Mill Meetings” in which the top brass says, “Here’s the rumors we’ve heard about the company—here’s which are true and which aren’t.”

  4. “Take a walk in my shoes” video distributed to employees each month. It showed one employee and what that person did during the day.

  5. Periodic “Roast, Toast and Boast” lunches in which they’d roast a long-time employee, toast the new hires and boast about a company accomplishment. 

  6. Allow employees to create their own titles (a deli manager called himself the “deli-lama”).

  7. Weekly e-mail from CEO briefing workers about the company and giving a pep talk.

  8. Employees grading their bosses three times a year (A to F) on communication, accountability, quality and professionalism. Bosses' pay based in part on grades. 

  9. “Coins” peer recognition program: Employees given three coins each quarter to distribute to co-workers who they see performing beyond the call of duty. Employees cash in their coins each month for prizes.

  10. Long-time workers share secrets of success on video.

  11. B.E.E.R. award—spot award given to employee showing performance Beyond Exceptions Exceeding Results.

  12. Training "passport" for new hires who get it stamped by current employees who provide information on the company.

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