Aydin is the CEO of Yemeksepeti.com, an extremely successful online delivery food service in Turkey that operates across several middle-eastern countries. After 15 years, the company had hundreds of millions of dollars in earnings and more than 370 employees. And then, Yemeksepeti hit the jackpot.
German firm Delivery Hero, an online restaurant search application that operates in 29 countries worldwide, acquired Yemeksepeti for $589 million. For the founders of the company, it was an unprecedented payday, and a just reward for all the hard work that goes into building a successful business from a good idea.
What really made this story remarkable, however, was Aydin’s decision to share the bounty with his employees. In a plan approved by Delivery Hero, Yemeksepeti employees will receive $27 million in bonuses out of the proceeds of the sale.
“I believe in teamwork and I believe success is much more enjoyable and glorious when shared with the rest of the team,” Aydin told Turkish newspaper Hurriet.
With this gesture, I believe Aydin has demonstrated a very important, but very rare, quality of the world’s best leaders: the ability to share their success with the people they lead.
The impact of Aydin’s actions is significant. His employees were paid between $1,000 and $2,000 a month. On average, each employee received a bonus of approximately $237,000. This means that the average payout was worth roughly 150 times their monthly wage.
This has had an immeasurable impact on the lives of the company’s employees.
This story stands out because far too often, we see examples of leaders of successful organizations taking all of the credit when things go well. Even though every leader would have to admit that he or she is only as good as the people they lead.
Without truly engaged employees who are willing to deliver discretionary effort, no organization can ever hope to achieve the success enjoyed by Yemeksepeti. Sharing the proceeds of the sale of the company is really the best way for ownership to acknowledge that the employees are a key element in success.
Why don’t more leaders demonstrate this selfless commitment to the people they lead? So many leaders work hard for many years to get to the top of their organizations, only to hoard power and wealth. In fact, a lot of the leaders I meet believe they are entitled to keep all the spoils themselves simply because they have been able to rise to the top of their organizations.
What those leaders fail to understand is that employees are only too aware when the scales have been tipped too far in favour of the people at the top. Ultimately, this will affect their engagement and commitment to organizational goals. And that means the organization will never rise to its full potential.
Yemeksepeti’s example is an important reminder that success is very much a team accomplishment, and that everyone on the team needs to share in the proceeds of that success.
This week’s Gut Check asks: do you share your success with those you lead?