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The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits
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The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  530 ratings  ·  72 reviews
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 compa ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by New Harvest
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Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business-finance
Anyone involved in business should read this, whether MBA student, startup entrepeneur, business owner, bank manager or investor. It's very readable, with clear examples drawn from 4 retailers (Costco, Trader Joe's, QuikTrip and Merca­dona) chosen as models for the "good job strategy", revealing how investing in employees may have fewer tangible or measureable benefits in the short-term but makes the long-term prospects incomparably good.
Emily Antonen
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Trader Joe's and Costco are a couple examples of good jobs strategy companies. Read the book and find out how they do it, then support businesses who use this strategy, and avoid others until they comply. Here's a blueprint for a better tomorrow, which is threatening to come too late for many of us unless we all smarten up.
This strategy is the antithesis of the current standard of corporate policy, which has weakened our middle class - a level of society crucial to a stabilized government. It is
Paco Nathan
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: workplace
Costco, Trader Joe's, Mercadona, etc., are all examples of companies that pay better than their competition, provide better customer experiences, and have demonstrated their resilience by being profitable over time -- even through recessions. OTOH, companies like WalMart are cited as "exemplary" for being just the opposite. Considering the factors of operational discipline, cross-training, customer and employee focus over short-term financial games, Zeynep Ton deconstructs the fallacy of the con ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I initially read this in order to better inform my work and understand my organization's philosophy on workforce development. This book completely changed my perspective as a consumer, worker, supervisor, and general participant in the economy and workforce. Ton's thorough research lays out a clear argument for the profitability and general sense in offering employees good jobs at every level in every industry. An excellent blend of stats, stories, good and bad case studies, as well as general i ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was happy to learn that there is a way to pay retail workers a healthy, living wage AND have successful companies. In fact, as Ms. Ton points out in the book, many successful companies make taking care of their employees the cornerstone of their business strategy. Some of the companies profiled in this book are Costco, QuickTrip, Trader Joes, and Mercadona (Spanish supermarket), as well as other companies that have applied this strategy a less consistently (think original Home Depot). Taking c ...more
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, audiobook
Focused on retail, “The Good Jobs Strategy” describes organizational strategies that lead to pleased customers. To get there, create “good jobs” instead of bad jobs. Companies providing good jobs tend to pay more, have less variety in the parts of the jobs that are drudgery, and include a lot of training. Key were limiting the number of different items to eliminate stockouts and to make managing a store easier. Another key was cross-training, so when the customers aren’t there, retailers can wor ...more
C. Patrick G. Erker
Solid, if dry, book, by an author who I'd have loved to have had as a professor in business school.

Ton suggests a way for companies to better serve customers, employees, and investors through what she calls the "good jobs strategy," which combines better employee engagement and development with improved operations. She is convinced that companies can treat their people well without compromising economic returns for investors, but only if companies execute on an operational level.

How to do that?
Cathy Douglas
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many employers have an us-vs-them relationship with staff, and often as not with customers. This book illustrates how four retail companies have been very successful using methods and policies that treat their employees very well, bringing good results to customers and shareholders in the process. The author focuses especially on cross-training, standardization processes, empowering employees, resisting counterproductive staff cuts to address short-term cash flow problems, and engaging worker ...more
Carter Hemphill
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got this book on special through as an ebook. The audiobook was quite inexpensive as well. The author gets a little too redundant and the book could have used an editor. Nevertheless, the author makes a very compelling argument that if companies focus on investing in their employees (through cross-job training and high pay) while also limiting choice, sales promotions and stock-outs, then the companies will be leaders in the cutthroat retail market. I found it interesting to learn a ...more
Carissa Brown
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The Good Jobs Strategy seems like a great strategy. Invest in employees, care about quality, and stay competitive with your prices. Many companies claim to follow the strategy and yet when you get into the upper management you realize that it is a dream or a story they tell but not an actuality. All the companies mentioned in this book that follow the strategy, I have personally heard good things about. Quik Trip which is mentioned multiple times in the book is a great place to work and they rea ...more
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is backed up with great research and interviews with people affected by both the "Good jobs strategy" and the "Bad jobs strategy." It has a compelling point and is well laid out. My only complaint is how repetitive the book is. It literally could be cut down to half the length and everyone would still get the point. You could easily get a cliff-notes version of this book and still get everything from it. It is well written, but just get monotonous after a bit.
Jason Girouard
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly well researched and understood! Zeynep Ton analyzes QuikTrip, Mercadona, Trader Joe's, and Costco to explain the "Virtuous Cycle of Retailing" and how seeing people as an engine of sales, service, profit, and growth can lead to reinforced success for employees and companies. These lessons can be applied to retailers but also expanded to any company dealing with customers - which as far as I know is most.
Kwang Wei Long
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book challenges the conventional thinking of cost cutting and maximizing your resources head on especially with how the business climate has changed over the years to it's present state and business management books advocating cost cutting and squeezing your employees dry.

Zeynep has shone light on a different way of doing business and still be able to succeed.
Definitely worth a read into the unconventional way of doing things.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting read about the retail industry and what the good companies do to get better. This doesn't quite fit in to the business that I do now, and it was a little bittersweet to listen about the downfall of Borders (a former employer), but really interesting to listen about what works and what doesn't. Plus it made me appreciate those in the retail service even more.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clearly defined and successfully told

I enjoyed The Good Jobs Strategy. This is a book full of great wisdom and knowledge gathered from multiple organizations and disciplines. This author was coherent and easy to follow as well. This would be a great companion for students in business schools.
Lewis Kang'ethe Ngugi
Retail experience shared to other industries

Kindle Unlimited suggested I read this and it's worth it! A design challenge that one company has been experiencing has the answer in this book. That answer was implemented in 1830s! Good Jobs Strategy is a great playbook for business owners and managers especially leaders.
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Opens a new window of good management practices for any bussiness and markets

I lead an engineering design group in a tech R&D; when I startered reading this book I thought all the advises won't apply to my area, after some chapter's a found myself motivated and with valuable extrategic tools very aplicable to my job. Great work on making this easy and understandable to read
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Ton talks about business strategies made backed up with concrete examples from Trader Joe's to SouthWest Airlines. Business strategies seem intuitive and hard to implement as companies are operating in tight environments.
Laura Carpenter
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Should be a must-read for every business school student. The book has common sense recommendations that - if implemented effectively - can significantly improve quality of life for scores of people. Profits and good jobs are not mutually exclusive.
Tony Segreto
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great overview of why good jobs for employees help company performance. Great examples and good points on how engaged employees that have autonomy and clarity in their roles increase operational performance.
Cruz Boon Gee Wai
Great and detail analysis

After second chapter, it make me want to complete the book because of the model companies as the example. As a manager and team lead, will definitely wanted to apply whichever option that can help.
philip armstrong
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

At a time when workers globally are struggling to make ends meet and improve their lives, the Good Jobs Strategy explains that it is possible for all three stakeholders (investors, employees, customers) to get what each wants.
Stephen Kreeger
Very helpful

But the salient points could have been elucidated equally well in a journal (e.g. HBR) article. About 40% longer than needed to be
Jadrian Wooten
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Started real strong and then got repetitive.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

Key lessons that we can apply in our lives as well
(1) simplify
(2) standardize
(3) operate with slack
Worth reading
Mike Murphy
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent book describing how to attract, retain, and leverage company talent in the service industry. A must read for any executive.
Debra Kaitschuck
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really interesting read that encourages business leadership to look beyond profits to treating employees well and recognizing that in so doing, profits can actually increase.
Jonathan Treble
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the author’s deep research into this topic.
Kamil Kuryś
Oct 18, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book is almost uniquely dedicated to retail stores. It contains some clever insights from some top companies but generally has few simple ideas that are being repeated and "proven" .
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this slim, surprisingly readable book, MIT business professor Zeynep Ton delivers an exciting, counter-intuitive message: miserable, low-wage jobs do not help business profitability or deliver low prices to consumers. Instead, good jobs can go hand in hand with profits, low prices, and customer satisfaction.

Ton's area of expertise is the decidedly unsexy field of operations management, the discipline that studies how businesses turn raw inputs (like supplies and labor) into sales. In the cour
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ZEYNEP TON has been a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management since 2011. Previously she was on the faculty of the Harvard Business School, where she was given an award for excellence in teaching in 2010.

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“There are three key assets in retail: real estate, inventory, and people.” 0 likes
“Despite all the investment in the scripts and technologies, the most important driver of customer satisfaction in a call center still seems to be the individual who takes the call and makes you feel like someone wants to help you, not just deal with you.” 0 likes
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