Hirshberg, the president and CEO of Stonyfield Farms, a yogurt maker in Londonderry, N.H., loves to nurture his rising stars and give them opportunities to grow on the job. With only 150 employees generating $50 million in annual sales in 1998, he asks a lot from each of them.
In this interview, Hirshberg discusses his hiring philosophy and how he gets to know his employees.
WS: Do you find it hard to know your employees?
Hirshberg: Yes. There’s this misunderstanding about my role as CEO. Some of the newer employees see me as having this mystique. They keep their distance. I used to have “Lunch With Gary” sessions with a sign-up sheet. After awhile, I found that only the old-timers were taking me up on it. So I have to find new ways to be accessible.
WS: What new ways?
Hirshberg: I just talk to people. I encourage them to open up...(register to read more)