Episode 63: Putting the Heart Back Into Business

Find out how one entrepreneur achieved success in an ultra-competitive industry by taking care of people as a pathway to taking care of business. Andrew Thornton, is one of the founders of the Heart In Business consultancy and co-author of new book Putting the Heart Back into Business. In this conversation, Andrew talks about his award-winning supermarket, Thornton’s Budgens, as a backdrop to lay out a blueprint for companies to empower people to truly be themselves, harness their strengths and individuality, and puts people and planet first, while trusting that profit will still follow.

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Episode Highlights


Creating Thornton’s Budgens


The problem with focusing on short-term profits


Results of coaching supermarket employees on creativity


Journey from command-and-control to heart-led business


Strong leadership guided great results when the covid-19 crisis hit


The Human Potential Model


Facilitating healthy organizational development


The Heart Index helps companies outperform on financial metrics


B Corps, materiality and taking care of employees


Daily practices to keep values front-and-center for employees


The power of praise and recognition over money


The beginning of Heart in Business


Launching 1,800 plastic-free product lines in 10 weeks

What Andrew sees as the greatest unmet workplace wellbeing need

“…there's something in society now what we're missing. It’s community. Traditionally, humans lived in communities. And it's all become over the last number of years all about individuals. It’s now all about, me, me, me, me getting my needs met.

[But], actually what you can do in a business, and what we did at Thorton’s Budgens, is create a community.

And that's what people need. We're social animals. We're not meant to live on our own. We're meant to live in community. And businesses is one you can create a community that has a very positive impact for the owners of the business because actually, communities work and they deliver results in a way that a bunch of individuals or fighting to scramble up the slippery pole cannot.”

What “working with humans” means to Andrew

“Us humans are extraordinary beings. And my desire is to work with the whole of a human being, and to help them grow and to shine and be their best rather than seeing them as a sort of a thing. So, I really hate the word HR human resources. It just implies that that they're all things that the business owns. Humans are not resources. They are people. Amazing.

Every single human being in Thorton’s Budgens was an amazing person in their own right with their own talents and flaws and weaknesses and joys and passions. And helping people be their full selves in all they glory is what working with humans means to me.”


Visit: Thornton’s Budgens
Read: Using Recognition and Other Workplace Efforts to Engage Employees (SHRM and globoforce)

Michael Glazer is the creator and host of Humans At Work. His purpose in life is to make well-being at work a globally-accepted, basic human right. Learn more about Michael here.