Almost one in four American working adults has a job that pays less than a living wage. Conventional wisdom says that’s how the world has to work. Bad jobs with low wages, minimal benefits, little training, and chaotic schedules are the only way companies can keep costs down and prices low. If companies were to offer better jobs, customers would have to pay more or companies would have to make less.
But in The Good Jobs Strategy, Zeynep Ton, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, makes the compelling case that even in low-cost settings, leaving employees behind—with bad jobs—is a choice, not a necessity. Drawing on more than a decade of research, Ton shows how operational excellence enables companies to offer the lowest prices to customers while ensuring good jobs for their employees and superior results for their investors.
Ton describes the elements of the good jobs strategy in a variety of successful companies around the world, including Southwest Airlines, UPS, Toyota, Zappos, and In-N-Out Burger. She focuses on four model retailers—Costco, Mercadona, Trader Joe’s, and QuikTrip—to demonstrate the good jobs strategy at work and reveals four choices that have transformed these companies’ high investment in workers into lower costs, higher profits, and greater customer satisfaction.
Full of surprising, counterintuitive insights, the book answers questions such as: How can offering fewer products increase customer satisfaction? Why would having more employees than you need reduce costs and boost profits? How can companies simultaneously standardize work and empower employees?
The Good Jobs Strategy outlines an invaluable blueprint for any organization that wants to pursue a sustainable competitive strategy in which everyone—employees, customers, and investors—wins.