Hubert Joly turned around at Best Buy. Now he is trying to fix capitalism.


When did you realize that the way we do things just isn’t working?

My journey on this goes back to the early ’90s. When I started at Best Buy, basic advice to investors and management was cut, cut, cut. Close stores. Everyone fire. We did the opposite. We listened to the frontliners. We have treated downsizing as a last resort. The philosophy was there from the start.

If you think of business by first thinking about how you want to be remembered as a human being, most of us revolve around the golden rule: do something right. for our people. If you can relate that desire in your heart to the way you run the business, the employees will love the business. Customers will love the business.

What are some of the obstacles you encountered as you worked to straighten out Best Buy?

Our main challenges were: How do you create these new strategies? How do you get 100,000,000 people to embrace them? People can have conversations about changing the system. I think if we change ourselves and change the way we run businesses, there is a lot we can do and we don’t need to blame anyone. We don’t have to be a B Corp to do good things in the world.

Are there specific actions that you think companies should take?

I would start by providing an attractive environment and a set of opportunities for their employees. Raising the minimum wage is a very important trend, but it goes beyond wages. It’s about benefits, taking care of your employees, including their mental health or their ability to vote. It is a process of advancement, the acquisition of skills. It’s about offering an environment for growth, an environment in which you feel like you belong, an environment in which you feel that your manager is investing in you, an environment in which you can connect what motivates you to your work. .

The others concern the development of a concrete plan to become carbon neutral and to make sure that you are a good member of the community in which you operate.

If companies have to pay workers more and pay more taxes, doesn’t that ultimately mean there will be less profits for managers and investors? It’s a hard sell to the people who currently have the most power to change these things.

In my experience, you can actually create more shareholder value by taking this stakeholder approach. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, and it takes time. If in 2012 I had said to investors: “I will immediately go to $ 15 an hour”, that would not have been reasonable. So we have done it over time. It’s like I want to lose 20 pounds overnight, you can’t. It takes time.

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