Hubert Joly directed the Best Buy turn around with an approach to business that “takes human dignity as a starting point”.
To the surprise of many analysts, he turned Best Buy around. His next goal is to get business to be more socially responsible. Link:
He’s trying to do that by teaching M.B.A. students at the Harvard Business School how to “change the way we run companies”
Mr. Joly brings great “traditional business creds” to the task. As Best Buy CEO 2012 – 2019 he led the company in achieving “unconventional changes bring[ing] success” in that period, including 335% total shareholder return; fifty percent reduction in carbon emissions; a $15 minimum wage; and two billion pounds of electronics recycled annually.
Key excerpt from Mr. Joly’s extended New York Times interview: “My experience has been that you can actually create more shareholder value by embracing the stakeholder approach. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, and it takes time.”
How to begin?
“I would start with providing an attractive environment and set of opportunities for employees. Raising the minimum wage is a very important trend, but it goes beyond pay. It is about benefits, taking care of you employees, including their mental health and their ability to vote”. [emphasis added]
(From the archives: a Public Relations Journal article October-November 1994 –“Make Companies More Socially Responsible” –
“Perhaps we are on the brink of the development of the humane corporation … The humane corporation is one that ‘thinks in terms of all its audiences, starting with employees …”)
The global business community is now becoming increasingly in step with Mr. Joly’s philosophy. An important part of that is educating the coming generations of corporate management on sustainability. That is happening around the world under auspices of organizations such as the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education. Link: (PRIME https://www.unprme.org/ )
It’s been a long evolution. It may surprise some, but Harvard University was addressing these matters back in the 1970s (sic). See link: “The Corporate Social Audit” co-authored by corporate social responsibility pioneer Raymond A. Bauer, Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Mr. Joly is optimistic: “I’m a big believer that if mankind puts its ingenuity to work, we can create amazing things … We innovate, and we’re able to find new ways to, you know, to meet human needs.”