Good workplaces are good for business as well as for the people who work in them. Employers who provide paid sick days, family medical leave insurance, a fair wage and retirement plans attract and retain more productive, loyal employees. That saves money on costly externalities, including turnover, constant hiring and retraining, union struggles, disrupted quality control, shrinkage, accidents, absenteeism and reduced customer satisfaction. Research indicates that, to a replace a worker making under $50,000 a year – that’s 40 percent of Americans – the direct cost is 20 percent of salary. When all the indirect costs of turnover are factored in, turnover costs can reach as high as 150 percent of salary.
Being among the Best Companies to Work for pays off in profits and shareholder benefits as well as savings. In 2012, 21 of the 100 Best Companies to Work for also made the Fortune 500 list of largest companies by revenue. And publicly traded companies on the 100 Best Companies to Work for consistently outperformed the major stock indices by a factor of 2 to 1, according to Great Place to Work®. Engaged employees who feel valued are far likelier to give 110 percent and become management’s frontline allies in efforts to improve processes, provide better service and reduce costs.
Companies that refuse to provide the rudiments of a good workplace get away with it by shifting costs to the public, and ultimately, to the taxpayer. For example companies that refuse to provide basic health care force their employees to get health care at public expense. In addition, because employees lacking affordable care postpone getting necessary treatment (giving infectious diseases with epidemic potential a chance to start spreading), companies that freeload are creating a public health hazard. The externalized costs of substandard work place policies burden the economy as a whole and penalize companies that do pay their fair share.
In contrast, investment in good work place policies benefits the economy as a whole and the individual company. Good workplace policies reduce employee reliance on the taxpayer-funded safety net, put more money into the local economy, reduce the spread of disease and improve the wellbeing of families – all while improving productivity and the quality of employee output. No amount of advertising can replace a job well done by workers who are well treated, and ASBC supports a range of good workplace initiatives to make American businesses sustainable in every way.
In general, a sustainably good workplace features:
- Reasonable compensation, including at entry levels.
- A way for employees to directly participate in the company’s financial success.
- Comprehensive, affordable health insurance.
- Disability insurance and other insurance as appropriate.
- Health- and wellness- related benefits such as paid sick days and paid family and medical leave.
- Objective standards for evaluating work, applied fairly and consistently to provide feedback and serve as a basis for raises and advancements.
- Sound fiduciary practices to ensure that pensions or similar programs are sufficiently funded and properly invested.
- Clearly articulated opportunities for advancement, available to all employees.
- Equal pay for equal work, not limited by race, gender, disability, orientation, etc.
- Training and development opportunities.