Did you know that almost half of workers are considering leaving their jobs in the next 3-6 months? Because instead of just dollars and cents, people are now looking for a culture that fits.
At Vincit, we believe our keys to success are employee happiness and customer satisfaction. This effort to cultivate an exceptional company culture has led us to implement a program we call, “CEO of the Day.”
Each month, one employee has the opportunity to act as the CEO for one day and make a lasting choice for our company – with an unlimited budget. These employees may not have an interest in leadership roles otherwise, but this unique program helps our employees and company overall in lasting positive ways.
The Birth of an Idea
Ville Houttu, Vincit USA’s CEO, regularly holds annual one on one meetings with each employee. In getting one of these meetings scheduled, an employee sent Ville an email and meeting invitation that said, “Promote John to CEO?”
Ville knew that this was meant playfully, but he soon realized that it could turn into a great opportunity. With the blessing of his management team, that was the spark. Ville promoted John to the role of CEO for one day with the challenge to make a decision that would help the company become a better workplace tomorrow than it is today.
The parameters are:
- Every month we select one employee to be a CEO of the Day.
- He will have an unlimited budget to improve our workplace.
- Whatever the CEO of the day decides, we all will live with.
- We encourage discussion among colleagues, but Ville does not weigh in.
- The CEO will announce his decision in our monthly meeting, and after that selects the next CEO of the Day.
- All employees will get their turn, but nobody gets to go twice.
The goal of these parameters is to replicate the experience of being a CEO and having that weight of leadership. This is important for not only approximating the pressure of being a CEO, but to teach a lesson about leadership: no matter how much control or money you have, the decision isn’t necessarily effortless. The CEOs have a deadline to make their decisions, then the official announcement of their decision is made during the monthly meetings. After that, they select the next CEO of the Day.
CEO of the Day Roundup
Since the CEO of the Day program has been implemented, we’ve had some incredible CEO of the Day decisions that have improved the professional and personal lives of our employees.
Here are some notable CEO of the Day decisions:
March 2021: Valerie made the decision to implement Birthday PTO. Every year, employees get a PTO day for their birthday to enjoy spending time with family, indulging in hobbies, or simply doing nothing at all – while getting paid!
April 2021: Ryan instituted Fun Fridays. Like a “Last Friday,” at the end of each month, the office can choose a new, fun activity to do for the day. Some of the more exciting examples are barbecues, ax throwing, and bowling, though it’s entirely up to the office how they spend their Fun Friday.
June 2021: Alycia chose to offer mental health resources with Boon. Each month, every employee has one hour of free therapy with Boon, a holistic, personalized coaching platform to help employees realize more authentic versions of themselves.
August 2021: Sean chose to offer house cleaning services. One time each year, employees can take advantage of house cleaning that’s paid for by Vincit.
September 2021: Austin instituted coworker lunches to improve interpersonal office relationships. Coworkers can attend lunch together in person or virtually, and Vincit reimburses the lunch expenses.
October 2021: Jody chose to offer a fitness stipend. Each employee receives 25 ClassPass membership credits per month to reach their personal fitness goals.
May 2022: Elli implemented Summer Fridays. To give everyone time to enjoy the summer season, we offer a change of schedule of 9 hour days with a half day on Friday, or 10 hour days with Friday off.
Through this program, employees also learned that small gestures can make a big difference. Some of the CEOs have instituted fun tokens of appreciation like movie tickets that are reimbursed by the company, snack stipends, internet stipends, pet care packages, an Audible subscription, and a headphone stipend.
Another excellent example is Volunteer Day, an idea from Michelle, an Arizona based Account Director. Planned for Fall 2022, the Vincit team will set aside a day to participate in volunteer activities for a local charity.
Even if these decisions seem small by comparison to the big decisions that CEOs have to make every day, the CEO of the Day program ensures employees have an opportunity to assume a leadership role and promote a strong company culture.
Build Your CEO of the Day Program
Follow these four steps:
- Define an area of your company you want to improve (e.g. workplace, sales process, warehouse logistics…)
- Create guidelines for your CEOs of the Day
- Announce the program to your employees and choose the first CEO of the Day
- Set a deadline for the first CEO of the Day decision
Each company is unique, and needs a defined set of parameters and goals.
It is also important to create a Board of Directors made up of other employees. The Board helps the CEO of the Day to brainstorm, improve and approve the decision, before it’s been announced.
During the four years of the program existence, Ville has helped several companies to efficiently create their own guidelines and goals.
The program has also been featured across multiple national business publications, including the WorkLife with Adam Grant podcast, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and the Nordic Business Forum Speaker Contest Finals.
If you would like to schedule a CEO of the Day workshop in your company, or invite Ville to talk at your event, contact us at: www.vincit.com/contact
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