5 high-profile CEOs who did positive things in 2015
In many ways 2015 was a bad year for CEOs, with a growing societal wealth-gap and corporate outrages such as the Volkswagen emissions scandal rocking public confidence in the world’s business leaders. But if you look beyond the negative headlines, fortunately there are still loads of great CEOs doing awesome things every day. Here are five examples from the last year that you may have missed.
Richard Branson, the eccentric founder and CEO of the Virgin business empire, took the unusual step last year of rolling out a policy that scraps the annual allowance and grants his employees as much holiday as they want. Not only does this mean that Virgin staff will no longer be left with the difficult choice between taking a summer break, or spending time with family over the festive season, but it’s symptomatic of a broader relationship between the company and its staff that is built on mutual trust, respect, and responsibility which produces a much better working environment for everyone.
$70,000 minimum wage
Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not. According to research, receiving pay-rises only increases employee motivation and life satisfaction up to a threshold of $75,000, after which there is no correlation between money earned and happiness. So to Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payment based in Seattle, the logical step was to boost the minimum wage of all his employees to $70,000 per year in order to bump everyone up to that financial sweet-spot. The best part is that he’s followed this all the way through to its logical conclusion and slashed his own wage down to size in order to help fund the initiative.
All too often, hard-nosed business reasons are rolled out as an excuse not to act responsibly in defence of the endangered global eco-system. In the cut-throat world of business, it’s often difficult to be the first one to put down the knife, but one CEO is taking a leading role when it comes to reversing this kind of short-sighted attitude. Rose Marcario, boss of outdoor clothing and equipment company Patagonia has taken the brave step of prioritising sustainable business practices, and dedicating a slice of the company’s profits to environmental causeseven at the expense of sales performance in the short and medium term.
Good bosses will take a genuine interest in their employees and take their duty of care seriously. The best bosses will expand this philosophy to include their employees’ families. After all, if you want them to go the extra mile for your company, it’s only reasonable that you do the same for your employees, right? Chieh Huang certainly agrees. In 2015, his company Boxed decided to cover the cost of university tuition for all of their employees’ children, with the CEO announcing: “We’re building a long-term business and if you’re along for the ride, we’re going to invest in you.”
Sharing the spoils of success
When Nevzat Aydin sold his company Yemeksepeti last year for $589 million, the Turkish entrepreneur was not quick to forget about the people whose hard work had helped establish his company’s worth. He took the unprecedented step of effectively making his 114 employees share-holders over-night by dishing out $27 million worth of bonuses to his work force. Demonstrating his gratitude to and every each member of the team, no matter how junior, he granted them all a life-changing sum of money averaging $237,000 each.