The Spotlight: CEOs admit to missteps early in their careers

If you’re looking for greater revenues for your company, you may want to consider giving your employees free lunches.

A study sponsored by US firm Highfive has linked free lunch to improved staff productivity, high employee retention and returns on investment of up to 150 per cent. The study additionally established that free lunches boost bonding among employees and enhance loyalty to the company.

The researchers fitted 30 Cubist Pharmaceuticals employees with sensors to track the tone and frequency of their lunch conversations. The information was merged with email traffic data and the results of weekly surveys in which employees rated their productivity and energy.

When researchers analysed the data, they found that employees that engaged in conversations regularly were more productive and energetic.

“While providing lunch for employees at your company can be costly, it’s hard to deny that there are also many benefits. The numbers may not fit perfectly into your ROI (return on investment) model, but if you add the intangible of catered lunches, the benefits may outweigh the costs,” the study said.

Top CEOs admit to missteps early in their careers

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One in three chief executives surveyed in East Africa revealed they took significant wrong turns early on in their careers.

“In a display of personal vulnerability, a number of CEOs admitted to having suffered significant knocks during their careers. Almost a third in East Africa (32 per cent) and over a third globally (35 per cent) strongly agree that they had a significant misstep early in their careers – such as taking on a role or launching a venture that was ultimately unsuccessful,” the 2019 KPMG East Africa CEO Outlook reported.

“That they bounced back and are nevertheless in their current role demonstrates the tenacity and resilience demanded of today’s CEOs in the face of adversity.”

The KMPG report surveyed 50 CEOs from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Of these, 22 per cent lead organisations that make in excess of Sh1 trillion a year in revenues, 28 per cent make between Sh100 billion and Sh990 billion a year in revenues, and 50 per cent make between Sh50 billion and Sh101 billion.

Edible plates, anyone?

There’s a noble global rush to reduce plastic waste. Kenya has already banned single-use plastic bags, while PETCO, an industry body mandated to regulate plastic packaging, is on a mission to recycle 250 million plastic bottles this year. Meanwhile, the European Union is set to ban plastic plates and cutlery from 2021.

These and more efforts to reduce plastic waste by recycling or eliminating it completely have seen several entrepreneurs around the world come up with innovative ideas that will conserve the environment while also earning them a tidy sum.

In 2018, Canadian company Toothpaste Bits developed toothpaste packaged in recyclable and refillable glass bottles to help reduce the number of toothpaste tubes that end up in landfills.

Polish inventor and entrepreneur Jerzy Wysocki runs a factory that makes eatable plates from wheat waste. He came up with the idea 15 years ago while looking to use up leftovers of flour production, which would take up a lot of space. The plates cost Sh17 and the company (Biotrim) makes around 15 million of them a year.

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