People are key to success - Bohbot

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EOH CEO Asher Bohbot, who was yesterday named IT Personality of the Year, says people are key to any company's success.

Bohbot says the award is not a personal accolade, but rather an acknowledgement of EOH as a company.

EOH was listed on the JSE in 1998 and has reported more than 40% compound annual revenue growth over the last few years under Bohbot's leadership.

The judges found Bohbot has a laser-sharp focus on rethinking the nature of an organisation and its relationship with employees. The company currently has about 3 500 staff members.

“I don't think that anything is personal here,” says Bohbot, speaking to ITWeb this morning. He was unavailable to receive the award, which was collected on his behalf by colleague, Mark Scheepbouwer.

Scheepbouwer praised Bohbot's astuteness and people-centricity. “At EOH, you don't get grilled over losing a good deal; you get grilled over losing a good person.”

Spill-over benefits

Bohbot says there is a relationship between the quality of people a company employs and the success of a business. He says firms need to create the right environment, processes, structures and value systems to ensure people are happy and productive.

In the last financial year to July, EOH turned over R2.4 billion, a 43.5% gain year-on-year, and reported net profit 51.8% higher, at R148.4 million. About half its gains have been driven by acquisitions.

A business' financial numbers are the result of other things one does, notes Bohbot. He says people do not work for money, but rather for a cause, and are not little machines that one puts a coin into. “Humans are far more complex.”

EOH's profitability, which has benefited shareholders, is a by-product of its people having a greater cause to work for than just a pay cheque, comments Bohbot. “It all sort of works together.”

Hard path

Bohbot says the company has managed to work with the new members of its family to get them to fall in line with its principles and value system. “There are a lot of soft things that matter much more than we think.”

However, Bohbot says creating a culture that is conducive to productivity is not easy and there is no shortcut.

Every business must have a purpose other than making money, Bohbot points out. He says the private sector has a vital role to play in creating more jobs, especially considering SA's unique macro-economic environment.

Companies should not just focus on the bottom line, but should think beyond profitability, says Bohbot. “If we think about jobs, we can create more jobs.”

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