The pandemic has presented companies across the world with distinct workforce challenges.
Businesses already operating online have had to quickly staff up to meet increased demand, while those in retail, hospitality and service industries have had to lay off or furlough customer-facing employees due to a lack of demand. And then there are the low-paid “essential workers” who are putting their lives at risk to keep those bad jobs.
According to Zeynep Ton, Professor of the Practice at the MIT Sloan School of Management and award-winning operations strategist, each of these companies is struggling because they have been using an expensive and outdated operations model.
Frameworks For Transformation
Ton helps companies improve operations by making systems more efficient and profitable. Her well-researched frameworks and proven strategies offer organizations a unique opportunity to gain a competitive edge while simultaneously satisfying investors, customers and employees.
Those who are implementing her strategies – including Quest Diagnostics, Mud Bay and Sam’s Club – are seeing significant results across the board. And while recent events have been devastating in many ways, Ton sees this recovery period as an opportunity for companies to reframe their business models so they can survive, and thrive, in the new economy.
Driving Growth With Good Jobs
Earlier in her career, while working with organizations in the retail sector, Ton noticed how understaffing and employee turnover negatively affected every area of operations, resulting in unnecessary revenue losses, unhappy investors and company-wide dysfunction. After identifying the underlying causes of these problems, she developed what she calls the “Good Jobs Strategy,” which led to her acclaimed 2014 book of the same name.
Through advisory roles, workshops, and keynotes, Ton teaches her Good Jobs Strategy to organizations in a variety of sectors, from health care, financial services and retail to manufacturing, shipping and e-commerce.
“There’s a strong financial case for good jobs,” wrote Ton and her co-author in a Harvard Business Review article. “Offering good jobs lowers costs by reducing employee turnover, operational mistakes, and wasted time. It improves service, which increases sales both in the short term and — through customer loyalty — in the long term. All these improvements can more than make up for the large investments in better wages, benefits, training, and scheduling. In addition, a good jobs system makes a company more resilient and more adaptive.”
A Profitable Revolution
While Ton praises a handful of model companies that are getting it right – like Southwest Airlines, Toyota, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and In-N-Out Burger, as well as retailers Costco, Mercadona, Trader Joe’s, and QuikTrip – she sees many organizations that have yet to transition and are still stuck in a vicious cycle. She urges them to leverage the Good Jobs model before competition takes over and they are left behind.
“A human-centered operations strategy is not only possible but highly profitable,” says Ton. “We need to create a revolution, especially in low wage service industries, not only to increase profits and customer satisfaction, but to strengthen people, societies and economies.”