How Burton Goldfield pushed TriNet’s team to have bigger goals of changing the world

Burton Goldfield, president and CEO, TriNet

Burton Goldfield, president and CEO, TriNet

NCA Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year




Burton Goldfield

President and CEO



Burton Goldfield is more excited than most to go to work. As president and CEO of TriNet, his company cultivates HR partnerships that enable entrepreneurs to solve many of the world’s most challenging problems.

From a CEO passionate about creating a delicious meat substitute for vegetarians to another leading a design revolution, TriNet gets to be a part of their success.

Under Goldfield’s leadership, TriNet, a human professional employment organization, quadrupled its revenues, increased its human capital 260 percent, and successfully acquired and integrated three companies — all within five years.

Goldfield had 25 years of experience when he sought out TriNet in 2008 as an opportunity where he could mold a team and see a company past acquisition.

As CEO, Goldfield faced one of his biggest hurdles in convincing the TriNet team to have bigger goals of “changing the world.” To be consistent and repetitive in his messages, he used all-hands meetings, podcasts and broadcasted town meetings to involve everyone.

Goldfield hires individuals with strong core values who can be mentored and grow into great leaders and contributors. He believes turmoil is the best judge of character. When he lost 90 percent of his worth in the dot-com bust of the 1990s, his core values drove him to pick himself back up.

So, when TriNet integrated its acquisitions, Goldfield chose to retain management because he believed they were the best equipped at their job. It was a challenge, though. He had to update them on TriNet’s vision, learning that you cannot force people to believe in an idea they are not receptive to.

Goldfield also takes a special interest in companies that focus on social betterment, such as Prolong Pharmaceuticals, which created a “blood substitute” to treat disorders and cut health care costs.

In addition, the company established TriNet Cares, designed to foster leadership and colleague engagement through volunteer opportunities, charitable giving and green initiatives.

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