Most managers assume that surviving, especially in recessions, requires slashing wages, benefits, and other workforce expenses. And lowest-skilled workers are often viewed as the most expendable.
In Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder, Jody Heymann overturns these assumptions. Drawing from thousands of interviews with employees from front line to C-suite at companies around the world, Heymann shows how enterprises have profited more by improving working conditions. - She also demonstrates that lower-skilled employees - in call centers, repair services, product assembly - aren't expendable. They can determine 90 percent of companies' profitability. High performers positively shape customers' perceptions of businesses, driving satisfaction and loyalty.
To attract, train, and retain top-caliber people in these roles, you must enhance working conditions, creating a system in which your company and its employees profit together. Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder shows what works - from stock options for bakers to flexibility for factory workers to career tracks in call centers.
Featuring cases from companies around the globe - including a leading concrete manufacturer in India, a top European pharmaceutical firm operating in China, and successful U.S. manufacturers - this book shows how real organizations are excelling financially by strengthening frontline employees' working conditions.
Books in Brief Summary in HR Magazine
"Consumers aren’t spending. Competition is tight. Businesses looking to cut expenses could ax benefits, eliminate training, put career development programs on hold, or even cut wages—especially for their lowest-paid, less-skilled workers. Keep the good stuff for those with more education, skill or seniority, right?
In Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder, Jody Heymann argues that these kinds of cuts only wound the business in the long run. Rather than keeping programs and pay for most skilled or experienced workers, employers should invest more in those lower on the ladder.
Companies that have done so have gained employee loyalty and improved productivity, and they’ve seen profitability rise too, Heymann says.
Heymann recommends five steps for “profiting together” at all levels of an organization: Employers need to “provide incentives at the bottom of the ladder,” support the lowest-level employees’ health, train employees at all levels, act on line employees’ suggestions, and “ensure companies and communities profit together” by understanding community needs and helping meet them.
The book details the experiences of employers from manufacturing plants to a bakery to Costco, using them to illustrate ideas including these:
- Extend more flexible leave time to workers, such as manufacturing employees, whose often don’t get such leave. One manufacturer found that being more flexible with work schedules created deep loyalty among workers who needed flexibility for family issues, and giving sick time kept everyone at the facility healthier.
- Open up stock options, 401(k)s, profit-sharing and other asset-building programs to employees at all levels. Heymann looks at how large and small firms structured profit-sharing to give all employees incentives.
- Construct career tracks so that people at the bottom of the ladder know they aren’t stuck there. Employers often assume there is no reason to invest in career tracks for people currently in lower-level jobs, but the book outlines how employers have benefited from having career tracks for all jobs.
- Enable employees to voice their concerns and ideas and act on good ideas. Workers will share ideas more freely, and be more engaged, if they believe their ideas are valued and will be acted upon."
- Additional Information
Name Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder SKU 48.34563
- Bought Together