Nick Hanauer and David Rolf argue that we need to pay higher wages to workers because workers are also consumers; paying higher wages is thus in business’ self interest because those wages fuel higher aggregate demand for the products of those businesses. Zeynep Ton makes an even more compelling case: that paying higher wages produces a better product, and ultimately, a better bottom line. It isn’t charity; it’s smart business.
Why aren’t more companies pursuing the good jobs strategy? One reason is that achieving excellence is harder than achieving mediocrity.
If we want a good jobs movement, we need to create human-centered operations strategies.
Economists talk about efficiency wages. Higher wages attract a better group of workers and encourage them to work harder because they are going to want to keep their jobs. Yes, workers may work harder. But if their jobs are designed in a way that doesn’t allow them to contribute that much, just working hard won’t go far. If companies want to thrive by offering good jobs, they need to think beyond efficiency wages; they need to create human centered operations strategies. I call that the good jobs strategy.
Zeynep Ton is an adjunct associate professor at MIT Sloan School of Management and the author of The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs & Boost Profits.
Zeynep’s research explores how organizations can design and manage their operations in a way that satisfies employees, customers, and investors simultaneously. Her work highlights that even in highly competitive industries, like low-cost retail, it is possible to provide good jobs to employees, good service to customers, and great returns to investors.
Zeynep’s research has been published in managerial and scholarly journals including Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, and Organization Science. Her work has been featured widely in the media, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Economist, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
Zeynep was named one of the World’s 40 Best Business School Professors Under the Age of 40 by Poets & Quants. She was also featured by CNNMoney as one of eight young business school professors on the rise.
Prior to joining MIT Sloan, Zeynep spent seven years teaching at Harvard Business School. She teaches MBA and executive education courses in operations management, supply chain management, service operations, sustainability, and operations strategy. She received several awards for excellence in teaching both at HBS and MIT Sloan.
A native of Turkey, Zeynep first came to the U.S. on a volleyball scholarship from Pennsylvania State University. She received her B.S. in industrial and manufacturing engineering from Pennsylvania State University and her D.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children.
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