21 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.
In praise of great bosses
Good bosses respect their employees and practice transparency. Great bosses inspire, are part of the team, go above and beyond to make their employees’ lives easier and better, and always follow these 24 golden rules to being a great boss.
The boss that turned down a raise—and gave it to his staff instead
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Tony Bennett, the head coach of the University of Virginia (UVA) men’s basketball team, was offered a hefty pay raise after his team won the national championship in 2019. But to everyone’s surprise, he turned the offer down and requested that the money go to his staff and the basketball program instead. What’s more, Bennett and his wife, Laurel, donated $500,000 to a career-development initiative for current and former UVA men’s basketball players. Bennett said it was all his wife’s idea. “She’s always said, ‘Is there something we can do that can make a difference?’ That’s been on her heart and mind,” he told CBS Sports. These are the secrets your boss won’t tell you—but everyone needs to know.
The boss that bought an employee a new car
On the night before Alabama student Walter Carr’s first day at Bellhops Moving company, his car broke down. Nobody could give him a ride to work, so in order to clock in at 8 a.m. the next morning, Carr decided to walk the 20-mile distance overnight. After a whopping seven hours—and a little help from the local police—he arrived right on time, the New York Post reports. When Bellhops CEO Luke Marklin heard about Carr’s incredible story, he drove from Tennessee to Alabama to give the young student a Ford Escape. “[There are] decisions in your life that are sometimes big and that you make pretty quickly because they’re the right thing to do—and this was one of them,” Marklin told WMBA. Rather not have someone to answer to? These are the 14 best jobs where you can be your own boss.
The boss that forgave a costly mistake
A diner at a British steakhouse had a stroke of luck when he was accidentally served a bottle of red wine that cost £4,500 (almost $6,000). Neither the customer nor the restaurant realized the error until one of the managers cleaned up the table, according to a spokesperson. Instead of berating the server who made the mistake, as some might, the restaurant’s management decided to poke fun at the situation on social media. “To the customer who accidentally got given a bottle of Chateau le Pin Pomerol 2001, which is £4,500 on our menu, last night—hope you enjoyed your evening!” the steakhouse tweeted. “To the member of staff who accidentally gave it away, chin up! One-off mistakes happen and we love you anyway.” Besides, the bottle of wine was a drop in the bucket compared to the 13 most expensive mistakes ever made.
The boss that gave his staff a free trip to Hawaii
Imagine sipping a cocktail on a sunny, warm beach—with 500 of your closest employees. That’s how Brian Scudamore, the founder and CEO of home service provider O2E Brands, chose to spend his vacation in 2017. Back in 2012, Scudamore promised his employees that if they could double the company’s revenue in five years, he would take them on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii. Needless to say, they achieved the goal. “The ultimate lesson: give your people a stake in the outcome, and your company’s bound to go far…and I don’t just mean to Hawaii,” Scudamore wrote for Inc.com. Sounds like he deserves a “best boss” mug, just like these 18 heads of the companies with the best bosses in America.
The boss that sends birthday cards to all 8,000 of his employees
For over three decades, CEO Sheldon Yellon has sent personalized birthday cards to each of his 8,000 employees at Belfor Property Restoration. He views it not only as a gesture of gratitude but also as a way to boost morale in the workplace. “It does take time, but I really view my position as working for all of our great people,” he told CNBC. “These people have sacrificed for this company and my dream and my vision.” The CEO was in for a big surprise on his own 60th birthday; in return for his years of generosity, Yellon’s employees gifted him with 8,000 signed birthday cards of their own. Inspiring their employees is one of the 17 amazing things great bosses do every day.
The boss that saved his employee’s life
Car salesman Mike Bell was looking a little worse for the wear one day, so the dealership’s owner, Gus Rodriguez, told him to take a sick day and go to a doctor. Turns out, that small piece of advice would end up saving his employee’s life. As Bell was making his way to the hospital for an X-ray, he collapsed and was rushed into emergency open-heart surgery to repair a tear in his aorta. Rodriguez even took his generosity a step further, supporting Bell financially until he could get back on his feet. Doctors say that Bell’s condition was so serious that he would have died had he not gone to the hospital that day, WFAA reports. Can you answer this CEO’s favorite interview question?
The boss that prioritizes mental health in the workplace
After a recent string of celebrity suicides, Crisco CEO Chuck Robbins sent a company-wide email about the importance of prioritizing mental health, asking his 75,000 employees to “talk openly and extend compassion” to each other and encouraging them to seek professional help if needed. He never expected the overwhelming response: More than 100 staffers replied to his email opening up their own mental health struggles. Realizing the problem was widespread, Robbins worked to provide his employees with anxiety and depression screenings, meditation and yoga classes, counseling for staff and their families, and on-site treatment and health centers. Even if you don’t have a great boss, you can try these 34 easy ways to reduce work stress every day.
The boss that recognizes random acts of kindness
Daniel Lubetsky, founder and CEO of the snack company KIND, has always aimed to use his entrepreneurial spirit to spread kindness and compassion. But in order to truly practice what he preached, Lubetsky started the “Kindos” initiative, which encourages any KIND employee—even Lubetsky himself—to recognize a colleague’s act of kindness with an email to the team. Staffers also carry “#kindawesome cards” to hand out to anyone they see doing something they believe is generous. “It sounds simple, but it helps people celebrate and more regularly spot opportunities to be good humans,” Lubetsky told Forbes. “It also helps everyone in our community feel like co-owners, much as we would in a family.”
The boss who pays his employees to take vacations
Get this: Employees at SteelHouse, a marketing and advertising company, are paid a whopping $2,000 each year to take a vacation anytime and anywhere. As a result, staff turnover at the company has shrunk dramatically, and employees are more energetic and productive in the office. The brains behind this policy, SteelHouse CEO Mark Douglas, says he was inspired by what he saw in workplaces that encouraged people to take vacations. “The first time I got exposed to real corporate culture that had elements of what we’re talking about, it changed my perspective for the rest of my life,” he told Business Insider. You will definitely be jealous of these secret company perks, too.