Staff at a world-leading manufacturer of thermal products were all-ears when their boss challenged them to start listening.

Chloe Watmore is MD of award-winning thermal manufacturer Thermotex, whose products do everything from stop oil and gas plants freezing in Russia’s frozen north and keep liquid chocolate warm in the pipes of top British confectioners.

It exports its winterisation, solar, sound and chemical protection products across Western Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Canada and Azerbaijan .

Chloe took the helm of her parents’  23-year old firm in 2013 at the age of 22, brought in new tech and staff and steered it to double its turnover in four years. But she wasn’t challenging staff to pay more attention to her.

The 25-year-old Economics graduate wanted them to absorb words of wisdom and insight from leading entrepreneurs and business gurus like Richard Branson and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.

She urged her staff to listen to 12 audio books in 12 weeks, hoping they would learn one valuable lesson from each.

Five workers took up the 12 by 12 by 12 gauntlet at the Chesterfield company, making time in their daily lives to listen to books on personal development and business knowhow, and Chloe paid for all 60 audio books.

“It’s been a really rewarding exercise for all,” said Chloe. 

She decided on the challenge after a business mentor introduced her to audio educational books.

“I now listen to them while driving or out running. They help me grow, personally and professionally,” she said. “I learn from other business people who have done great things, and they also give me head space.

“I hoped audio books would do the same for my team. It’s really important as a boss not only to help staff develop skills and awareness as employees, but also to help them grow as people.”

Since the challenge began in January she has noticed staff thinking more broadly and applying what they have learned to workplace situations.