Sheldon Yellen really knows how to put his employees at the heart of the company.
When Sheldon Yellen, CEO of Belfor Holdings Inc., is traveling, you won’t see him engrossed in a newspaper article or typing away on a laptop. He’s more likely to be carefully writing out a thoughtful birthday card to send to one of his 9,200 employees.
Yellen started the practice 34 years ago when his brothers-in-law brought him into the company, which deals with property restoration and disaster relief. Fearing other employees would feel he was gaining preferential treatment, Yellen, who was far from being a CEO at the time, decided to acknowledge each of the company’s employees by sending them a birthday card. He hoped that the gesture might spark a conversation with recipients.
The plan, as the now-CEO shared with Business Insider, was successful. The other employees started communicating with him and friendships were formed. Yellen believes that the card-sending helped him gain respect among the staff for being someone who was truly invested in them. As he points out in an interview with Yitzi Weiner at Thrive Global: “The power of a genuine act is unbelievable and it’s noticeable, when it’s real!”