So often we hear about the abysmally crappy bosses in the world – the ones born without an empathetic bone in their body, the ones who leverage their power for evil, or those who just completely abandon ethics for personal gain.
Well, not today.
Today we’re bringing you stories of four of the world’s best bosses who went above and beyond to keep employees’ happy – and in some cases, alive. Culture matters, folks – and more business owners of the world are recognizing it!
Employees Truly Come First
Seasonal industries can be tough. They’re the epitome of ebb and flow profits. But George Williams (of the Sherwin Williams paint empire) lives by his predecessors’ mantra of “pay the employees first”, regardless of how bad business may be. In fact, they’ll even bid contracts at or below cost just to keep employees on the books and paid regularly.
But his most impressive exemplification of “employees first” came when Williams’ father – who had predicated him in the C-suite role – died suddenly amidst horribly lean times. In between calls to make funeral arrangements, Williams suspended grieving to call every account receivable possible to ensure that payroll could be made. Think that’s impressive? The employees even got their Christmas bonuses just one day after the funeral.
Williams was quoted as saying, “Other than me closing up shop the day of the funeral, I think my dad would have been proud of the way I handled everything.”
When 19-year old Brittany Mathis went to the hospital for a relentless rash on her leg, she never expected to find out just hours later that she had a brain tumor. Uninsured, the cost of just the diagnosis was astronomical, and paying for treatment seemed essentially out of the question – until her boss stepped in.
Michael De Beyer owned the well-established Kaiserhof restaurant in Montgomery, Texas, where he employed both Brittany and her mother. Learning of the young lady’s tribulations, De Beyer made a staggering proposal: he would sell the restaurant – worth roughly $2 million – to pay for the hospital bills, stating, “I just can’t be standing by and doing nothing. I have to try something.”
Talk about truly altruistic leader!
Turning Layoffs Into Social Good
When the Navistar Diesel plant was facing a production slowdown and high layoff numbers seemed imminent, manager Chuck Sibley decided he wasn’t just going to let his loyal employees flounder. Instead, he pitched the parent company on a brilliantly philanthropic alternative to the dreaded pink slip: community outreach.
Fifty employees who otherwise would have been laid off were given full-time community activist opportunities – complete with their same benefit packages. Working side by side with local charities, the organization was able to not only able to retain loyal employees for the subsequent upturn in business but also dramatically impacted their goodwill within the community.
Most Generous CEO
The TV show Undercover Boss has become wildly popular – so much so, that the franchise has spread to a total of ten countries. The show has featured countless acts of kindness and generosity. However, one CEO in particular has been dubbed “Most Generous CEO” by the show’s producers.
Steven Cloobeck, founder and chairman of Diamond Resorts, has appeared on the show twice, contributing a whopping $2 million to his employees, half of which came from his own pocket. However, his generosity wasn’t just a “made for TV” moment. After appearing on the show, Cloobeck realized that he couldn’t just help a few of his employees and ignore the rest. He went on to create a crisis fund for all 5,600 of his employees. The fund has already been put to good use, helping an employee named Jacob pay for cancer treatment.
“Without that help, I wouldn’t be here today,” Jacob said, “I’d be dead.”