“People. It’s all about people. The day you think differently should be your last!” ~Sheldon Yellen
Belfor Holdings, Inc. is the corporation that houses largest property restoration in North America, Belfor Property Restoration. The company’s CEO, Sheldon Yellen, oversees 195 offices in 27 countries, six thousand employees, and over a billion dollars in assets.
Yellen was rocketed to national fame in 2011 when he appeared on Undercover Bosses in what is one of the most memorable episodes in the show’s entirety. The episode received an Emmy nomination for outstanding reality program in 2011, and Sheldon Yellen was brought back to a special update episode of the show, which aired last month. In the show, Yellen showcased his deep concern for his employees, and his empathy for workers trying to “bring order to the lives of others when their own might be in chaos”.
According to Yellen, putting people first is the key to success. He says that without people there are no profits, so you have to make it all about them. That priority shows in the numbers. In 2011, Sheldon Yellen oversaw 11 acquisitions, and 97% of employees stayed on. Belfor’s success comes from supporting internal growth and development and honoring ideas from employees at all levels. After the Undercover Boss experience, Yellen now requires managers to spend at least two full days working in the field next to technicians in order to bridge the common disconnect between employees and management. Yellen claims the corporate culture attracts the best employees and helps the organization flourish.
Living up to his own expectations, Yellen hand writes 6,000 birthday cards every year for his employees. Managers gets a personal call from the CEO on their birthdays as well. He writes thank you cards and attends many events important to his team, such as weddings, funerals, and hospital visits. Keeping in touch with employees is a top priority. The success is real—according to Yellen, his company is four times as productive as Belfor’s competitors. Retention levels are high, profits are steady, and Sheldon Yellen remains a beacon of hope for employees looking for appreciation everywhere.