Here's why this entrepreneur decided to fly all his staff to a top secret location for their annual conference

This article has been inspired through helping businesses to grow via the ANZ Business Growth Program.

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Talent retention is more important to businesses than ever, thanks to advancing technologies which brings global competition to the local marketplace.

Business leaders now must rise to inspire their employees and create a great place to work if they want to keep talent engaged.

For serial entrepreneur Ido Leffler, founder of Yoobi and Brandless, this means turning employees and customers of the business into a family. He has three brand pillars: incredible people, brilliant product and a powerful cause, with an intentional focus on putting the team first.

“Everything I do is based around my family and how we can develop products and businesses to enrich their lives and the lives of the people around us,” Leffler told ANZ’s business growth podcast series.

He applies this approach to all his businesses, such as Yoobi, an office and school supplies business, and Brandless, an online grocery store that sells products for $3 each — his board memberships and advisory roles.

The family model helps staff to live and breathe brand values, and it creates a sense of loyalty in staff that is not often seen in the emerging workforce, particularly millennials.

Here’s how he does it:

Hire with purpose

Successful teams consist of employees with varying skills and personalities, in order achieve diversity of thought and expertise.

Leffler says it’s important that “the people that you bring on board to shine in the area that they’re really good at.

“It’s less about the individual and more about the whole team as it develops.”

He adds: “You want to attract people that are going to be different.

“For your next level of leadership, you don’t want to bring ‘me toos’ for the ride. You want to bring people who are going to complement you and we allow the people who have other skills sets to grow.

While diverse companies have been shown to drive higher profits and more innovation, what Leffler focuses on is binding these people together so that their differences spark ingenuity.

Ensure people are engaged

To keep talented people engaged at work, leaders are finding increasingly creative ways to build genuine, personal connections.

Studies have shown, that shared experiences amplify the effects of that experience. Creating a family atmosphere at work can increase positive associations with the workplace and your team.

Leffler achieves this by holding annual off-site meetings for Yoobi employees in top secret locations, with the aim to creatively and collaboratively plan business outcomes for the next 12 months.

“Last year we took the entire company to Hong Kong, the year before it was to Iceland, the year before that was on a terrible cruise to Mexico,” said Leffler.

Just a reminder that Iceland is beautiful. Source: Getty.

These experiences create shared memories and lasting bonds with team members that are hard to break.

Keep ego out of it

Keeping people engaged isn’t just about trips overseas, it also means that on a day-to-day basis leaders are actively participating in the little things.

“I think that the worst thing that can happen to leaders…is that you think that the success is due to you, and the ego starts to come into play,” said Leffler.

He shows a deep and personal connection with the entire business, right down to the last detail — he calls this the “love from the top-down” approach.

At Brandless, he’s even involved in tasting new products that come through the door before they get to the customer.

“It’s about making sure that my team see that I care about every single product that we launch, whether it is a simple product such as a vinegar, for example, all the way through to our peanut butter spread. I’ve tasted and tried every single one.”

If this story resonates with your business you can learn more via the ANZ Business Growth Guide.

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