‘Good Jobs’ to Create Prosperity Together

I’m fascinated by the Future of Work. So when I read Adam Davidson’s piece for the NYTimes Magazine Future of Work Issue titled “Managed by Q’s ‘Good Jobs’ Gamble”, I had to get a copy of the Zeynop Ton’s The Good Jobs Strategy.

Having worked for a big corporate retailer that recently came out of bankruptcy and having operational experience in small businesses, the ideas in Ton’s book weren’t new to me. But Ton, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, does a phenomenal job of conveying the importance of creating human-centered operations to create fulfilling jobs that pay well, while also improving returns for companies’ investors. Moreover, she illustrates clear examples for putting the Good Jobs Strategy into practice.

Ton boils down the ‘Good Jobs’ operational strategies to four choices:

  • Offer Less: offer fewer products to increase customer satisfaction while streamlining operations
  • Standardize and Empower: use scientific management to examine the work environment to determine which tasks should be standardizes (those which must be done efficiently and consistently) and which tasks to trust to empowered well-trained employees
  • Cross-Train: empower your employees to do many tasks, leading to greater job satisfaction while increasing productivity
  • Operate with Slack: overstaffing costs less than you think, and understaffing comes with many hidden costs

Using these strategies, companies can create ‘Good Jobs.’ Jobs that pay a middle-class salary and create a sense of purpose and empowerment at work, while allowing employees to have a meaningful personal life.

Drawing on more than a decade of research, Ton shows how companies like Southwest Airlines, Trader Joes, Costco, UPS, In-N-Out Burger, use human-centered operational excellence to of­fer low prices to customers while ensuring good jobs for their employees and exceptional returns for their investors.

Ton’s book left me hopeful that we can increase the collective prosperity of all Americans by implementing her research.

Now go out and get yourself a copy, and use the Good Jobs Strategy to build and grow your business.

Yolanda Lau is an experienced entrepreneurship consultant, advisor, and Forbes Contributor. She is also an educator, speaker, writer, and non-profit fundraiser.

Since 2010, she has been focused on preparing knowledge workers, educators, and students for the future of work.

Learn more about Yolanda here.