Why one CEO banned the word “staff” from her company

Founder and CEO of Vet Partners Jo Malone, discusses her leadership style and how it got her to the top of Glassdoor’s Best Companies for Senior Leadership

by Éilis Cronin

“The word ‘staff’ is banned from this organisation. I think it’s a really derogatory term.” This is what Jo Malone, founder and CEO of veterinary group VetPartners, tolds Management Today after the company was voted the top for senior leadership by Glassdoor. 

The top 25 companies were assessed using anonymous feedback from Glassdoor users about their company’s senior leadership, as well as insights into their jobs, work environment and employer over the past year.

It’s the little things

So what are the secrets to Malone’s success? Banning the word ‘staff’ from all company literature is just the start. Malone, who manages more than 8,000 employees at 170 veterinary practices around Europe, has employed a people-first approach with a focus on keeping employees motivated. The company has its own awards system whereby colleagues can nominate one another based on the company’s values. “For example, a colleague will nominate someone because they’ve shown real dedication in their role. If they win, they’ll get £250 in vouchers and a stuffed toy dog. So there’s an element of fun there too.” 

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