At Florida-based Baptist Hospital, the CEO declared an all-out war on turnovers, pulling out all the stops to tear down typical corporate walls and 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 to call if they have questions, make daily rounds of employees, hand-write thank-you notes to employees and send managers to a 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 10 more real-world examples of efforts by organizations in recent years to keep their workers satisfied and in their seats:
1. Keys to the car. A CEO who used to give $200 cash spot bonuses started giving high performers the 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—to employees at home.
3. Monthly “Rumor Mill Meetings” where the top brass said, “Here are 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 for employees showing what one employee did during the day.
5. “Roast, Toast and Boast” lunches in which managers would roast a long-time employee, toast new hires and boast about a company accomplishment.
6. Do-it-yourself titles. Employees were allowed to create their own titles (e.g., a deli manager called himself the “deli-lama”).
7. Weekly “pep talks” via e-mail from the CEO, briefing employees about the company.
8. Making the grade. Employees graded their bosses three times a year (A to F) on communication, accountability, quality and professionalism. Grades affected the bosses’ pay.
9. “Coins” peer recognition program. Employees get three coins each quarter to distribute to co-workers who perform beyond the call of duty. Employees cash in their coins for prizes.
10. Secrets of success videos. Long-time workers reveal theirs on videos that are shown to new hires.
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