Fostering employee loyalty is a tall order for a CEO. One old-fashioned gesture of trust is giving employees keys to the store. At Edson International, in New Bedford, Mass., president Will Keene has given 7 of the 25 workers keys to the family-owned machine shop, which makes steering systems for yachts.

"These people have been with the company at least five years," says Keene. "They've made it known they plan to stay with our company for the long haul. They aren't out to rip us off." Newer employees get the message that long-term commitment is rewarded.

And the keys are used. Employees can work on their own projects in the shop on weekends, as long as someone else is present in case of injury. For workers who can't afford their own shop, it means a lot.

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