Employee satisfaction is falling, but a little kindness goes a long way. Has this unconventional CEO found the perfect way to maintain happy employees?

Keeping your employees happy is vital to maintaining your company’s success.

However, maintaining happiness in the workplace often comes with a considerable cost. Pay rises, promotions, more vacation days and development courses are just some ways to increase employee satisfaction.

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Yet, if you aren’t willing to splash out, there is a far cheaper way to make your employees feel loved and valued in their job.

Throwing money at a problem isn’t always the answer. Research shows that our brains are more stimulated by a single smile than receiving £16,000 in cash. Belfor Holdings CEO Sheldon Yellen has used the power of kindness to devise a method that keeps satisfaction up without breaking the bank.

Can this simple task create happy employees?

Every year since 1985, Yellen has hand-written birthday cards for each of the company’s employees. Given that Belfor Holdings now employs more than 7,400 people across their 100 offices, he scribbles out more than 20 messages each day. Each card contains a personal message which refers back to a moment that he shared with the employee.

Happy employees - Compelo

The CEO sees the cards as a way to connect with his colleagues.

As the brother-in-law of the company’s former leader, employees didn’t initially warm to Yellen. However, the birthday cards quickly got them talking. Card-giving was such a hit that the unconventional boss has kept it up for more than three decades since.

While others have been quick to brush it off as a gimmick, Yellen swears that the practice helps to spread compassion and kindness around the workplace.

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

Happy employees - Compelo

Given Yellen’s unusual leadership style, it is easy to brush this off as another of his odd antics. The Belfor CEO has previously ditched his suit-and-ties for a dressed-down look, while he also refuses to use a smartphone.

Yet, workplace compassion has been shown to increase employee retention, decrease workplace stress and motivate employees to go above-and-beyond to provide for their employer, so perhaps Yellen is on to something, after all.

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