So, if we believe people are the heart of a business, how do we take good care of them? Is a pension scheme, private health care and generous holiday not enough? Seemingly not. Some of the most generous companies in terms of staff benefits are not seeing the staff performance they want or need and staff retention is a problem. What can we do as business owners to ensure our teams are happy and performing at their best?

At Baobab Growth we were fascinated to learn that Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia has an ambition for his organisation to be a truly people focused business and in recognition of this has appointed a Chief Heart Officer.

VaynerMedia has an enviable staff retention record. People punch above their weight, people continually over perform and achieve outstanding results.

We know that a CEO has to lead by example, we know that communication is key, we know staff need to be valued and rewarded. So what is different at VaynerMedia?

Here is what Gary has to say “Caring about your employees doesn’t just mean providing them with health benefits or large salaries. When I say “I care about my employees,” I really mean it.

I’m passionate about knowing each and every one of them as individuals. The problem with a lot of companies is that HR comes second to their bottom line. Not only is it not a priority, but most companies act as if their employees all have the same driving motivations for working there: to make a paycheck and receive benefits.

But here’s the thing: You can’t put everybody in the same box—everyone is driven by different goals and aspirations. I recognise that my team of more than 600 people is driven by 600+ individuals who each have their own specific wants and needs. For example, I understand that some of my younger employees are motivated by money. I understand that others want a great work-life balance. I understand that the needs might be different for someone who just moved to New York versus someone who wants to start settling down. I care about what they care about. Why? Because life’s a value exchange—when you care about your employees, it translates into value they can give back to your company.”

So what is it that drives people to go that extra mile? What can businesses do to understand what motivates their staff and learn how to get the most out of the team? It all starts with building relationships and clear communication. It comes down to trust and integrity and this needs to be demonstrate by all of the leaders from CEO to team leader. To ensure a strong heart in a business, to be truly people focus the business needs to be authentic, the leaders need to “walk their talk” and this will then pass down to the staff and create a “can do- want to” culture.

At Baobab Growth we believe the most successful businesses achieve great things because they understand their own workings. They are clear on the organisations values and beliefs and communicate fully and openly to their staff. They listen and they learn. They put away individual egos for the benefit of the whole business. They provide the right environment for the individuals and business to flourish – the team results are greater than the sum of the individual parts.

For true business success, all aspects of the business need to be working together. It is not just the processes and procedures that need to be reviewed, updated and looked after. The people also need to be looked after, valued, inspired and rewarded. For the business to perform to its optimum potential the heart needs to be strong to ensure the best performance of all vital organs, including the brain. If our business heart is healthy, the people will be happy, stress free and focused on achieving the best for the business. This in turn will lead to an improved blood flow to the brain and company bottom line. Find out more about how VaynerMedia are doing this through Chief Heart Officer (CHO) Claude Silver.

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