A CEO who thinks like a Chief HR Officer

Sheldon Yellen is big on engaging with his 9,200 employees so he gives them all hand-written birthday cards, every year.
By: | October 18, 2019

Chief HR Officers (CHROs) are regularly advised to think like CEOs, to be better aligned to the company’s business objectives. But what about when the CEO acts like the CHRO?

That’s exactly what Sheldon Yellen, CEO of Belfor Holdings, does by handwriting birthday cards to all 9,200 of his employees each year. The practice began in 1985 when Yellen was an executive director for the disaster recovery company, and has continued more than three decades later.

Over this time, his card-writing has evolved to include anniversary cards, thank-you notes, holiday cards and get well cards. Based on birthday cards alone, that’s 177 cards written a week, assuming the Alabama-based CEO takes no holiday during the year.

According to Business Insider, Yellen believes it would be ‘’nearly impossible for a company to grow and be successful if team members aren’t happy and engaged’’.

‘’My philosophy is simple — if you take care of your people, your team will in turn take care of your customers,’’ he added.