STL Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
GL Group, Inc.
With 22 years in his family’s book selling and distribution business, CEO Gary Jaffe has helped GL Group, Inc. remain profitable when others are exiting the market. He also has continued the many company programs that give employees a better quality of life.
Formerly Booksource, Inc., GL Group has been family-owned since its founding in 1974. Jaffe took over as CEO two years ago, after slowly working his way up through the company.
Jaffe’s leadership style empowers the more than 160 employees to set high, but attainable expectations and encourages them to see the company as their own. This includes allowing employees daily access to company financial information, bonus trends, etc., as well as implementing departmental daily goals, or scorecards, that are tied to bonuses and metrics.
The company’s vision is to be the “best place to work in America.”
Employee benefits include allowing new mothers to bring their babies to work until 6 months old or partially reimbursing day care payments for the first year. GL Group also holds many social activities and has in-office massages and yoga classes. The company provides tuition reimbursement, extensive job training such as a four-week on-boarding course and is developing stock options for long-term employees.
Jaffe hosts a monthly lunch for 10 employees to discuss the company and answer questions, while sending out annual employee surveys to seek ideas for improvement.
GL Group has recently focused on educational channels to deliver high-quality goods and services to its customers. Under Jaffe’s leadership, from 2010 to 2012, sales have grown approximately 30 percent, even with the challenges from the rise of technology and e-books.
The company is consolidating locations to create efficiencies and starting to expand internationally. GL Group’s people philosophy has continued with the move through discussions of mileage reimbursement and the idea of including laundry facilities in the new headquarters.
How to reach: GL Group, Inc., www.goodluckgroup.com