CEO Who Writers 9,200 Birthday Cards A Year Explains Value Of Gratitude

Being a CEO means you already have the burden of business constantly on your shoulders. It might become hard to take the time out to worry about the more intricate details. However, not this particular business owner. 
Sheldon Yellen is the chief executive of BELFOR Holdings, Inc., a property-restoration and disaster-relief business. The company is currently holding 9,200 active employees, all of whom receive a personalized card from Yellen on their birthdays.

Yes, all 9,200 of them.

Credit: sheldonyellen.com

Long before he became CEO, he was already handwriting these cards, and even after he moved all the way to the top of the food chain, things didn’t change. He’s continued this tradition for over 30 years now, using this little gift as a way to make sure each one of his employees feels valued and appreciated. Imagine having an entire business to run on the daily, but taking the time out to write personalized birthday cards? It takes a very kind and appreciative boss to be able to go to such lengths.

Credit: sheldonyellen.com

His initial thought was that it may help his employees communicate with him more, even if that meant just stopping by his desk with a quick “thank you for the card.” As long as they felt like they were working for a boss that noticed their hard work, it would make him feel as though he was doing a good job. 

“It got people talking, we started to communicate more, and I like to think it helped me earn respect within the company.”

Credit: sheldonyellen.com

Studies have shown that receiving praise at work, especially from those in charge, can help with workplace morale. Handing out positive-reinforcement only strengthens the relationship between each of the levels within the organization’s hierarchy. Surveys also indicated that hard-working employees are more likely to quit if they feel as though their bosses aren’t showing genuine concern for their well-being.

Credit: sheldonyellen.com

Years and years down the line, now Yellen makes sure his free time is spent wisely. He carries extra stationery and cards to make sure they’re ready to send off to the right person when the time comes. He even goes as far as writing “thank you notes” and “get well soon cards” to show that he cares about each and every one of his workers.

Credit: sheldonyellen.com

Yellen’s long-term experience has taught him that workplace gratitude should not be considered a waste of time.

“When leaders forget about the human element, they’re holding back their companies and limiting the success of others,” he told Business Insider. “Focusing only on profit and forgetting that a company’s most important asset is its people will ultimately stifle a company’s growth.”

I think bosses everywhere should adopt Yellen’s method of expressing appreciation. It’s bound to be the best way to keep your employees happy. Well, that and the occasional bonus!

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