Zeynep Ton

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Leading Expert on How Companies Can Design and Manage Their Operations in a Way That Satisfies Customers, Employees, and Investors Simultaneously; Professor of the Practice at the MIT Sloan School of Management; Founder, Good Jobs Institute (GJI); Author, “The Good Jobs Strategy” (2014)

Biography

Zeynep Ton is a Professor of the Practice at the MIT Sloan School of Management and founder of the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute (GJI). Before MIT Sloan, Ton spent seven years on the faculty at Harvard Business School.

Ton’s research explores how companies can design and manage their operations in a way that satisfies customers, employees, and investors simultaneously. In 2014, Ton published her findings in a book, “The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits.” The book draws on 15 years of research to show that the key to offering good jobs to employees, great service to customers, and superior returns to investors is combining investment in employees with specific operational choices that increase employees’ productivity, contribution, and motivation.

After her book was released, many retail leaders reached out to Ton to understand how to implement the Good Jobs Strategy in their organizations, or to describe how they were already adopting the strategy. Ton founded GJI to help them transform. GJI offers assessments, workshops and longer-term partnerships to support companies on their good jobs journeys.

Ton’s research has been published in managerial and scholarly journals, including Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, and Organization Science, and featured widely in the media, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, PBS, and NPR. At MIT, Ton teaches MBA and executive education courses in operations management, service operations, sustainability, and operations strategy. She received several awards for excellence in teaching both at HBS and MIT Sloan. She was also named one of the World’s 40 Best Business School Professors Under the Age of 40 by Poets & Quants.

A native of Turkey, Ton first came to the US on a volleyball scholarship from the Pennsylvania State University. She received her BS in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering there and her DBA from the Harvard Business School.

Zeynep Ton is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

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Intro Video

Video ThumbnailThe Good Jobs Strategy: Zeynep Ton at TEDxCambridge 2013 - youtube Video

A-Z Name

Ton, Zeynep

Biography

Zeynep Ton is a Professor of the Practice at the MIT Sloan School of Management and founder of the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute (GJI). Before MIT Sloan, Ton spent seven years on the faculty at Harvard Business School.

Ton’s research explores how companies can design and manage their operations in a way that satisfies customers, employees, and investors simultaneously. In 2014, Ton published her findings in a book, “The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits.” The book draws on 15 years of research to show that the key to offering good jobs to employees, great service to customers, and superior returns to investors is combining investment in employees with specific operational choices that increase employees’ productivity, contribution, and motivation.

After her book was released, many retail leaders reached out to Ton to understand how to implement the Good Jobs Strategy in their organizations, or to describe how they were already adopting the strategy. Ton founded GJI to help them transform. GJI offers assessments, workshops and longer-term partnerships to support companies on their good jobs journeys.

Ton’s research has been published in managerial and scholarly journals, including Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, and Organization Science, and featured widely in the media, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, PBS, and NPR. At MIT, Ton teaches MBA and executive education courses in operations management, service operations, sustainability, and operations strategy. She received several awards for excellence in teaching both at HBS and MIT Sloan. She was also named one of the World’s 40 Best Business School Professors Under the Age of 40 by Poets & Quants.

A native of Turkey, Ton first came to the US on a volleyball scholarship from the Pennsylvania State University. She received her BS in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering there and her DBA from the Harvard Business School.

Zeynep Ton is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

The Good Jobs Strategy

In many economies, service sectors such as retail and restaurants account for a growing proportion of jobs that pay low wages while offering unpredictable schedules and few opportunities for success and growth. To create a good jobs economy, we need to transform these “bad jobs” into “good jobs.”  In this presentation, Zeynep Ton, a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, will make the compelling case that improving those jobs will require companies to operate differently. They need to evolve from seeing people as interchange parts to designing human-centered operations strategies. Drawing on more than a decade of research, Ton will show that a human-centered operations strategy is not only possible but highly profitable even in low-wage service settings.

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Recommendations

“Ton brought one of the most radical, and yet one of the most sensible, ideas to Aspen this year…As we worry about where middle-class jobs are going to come from, Ton’s is a message that needs to be heard not just in Aspen but all across America.”

– Joe Nocera in NY Times Op-Ed

“[Ton is] an improbably chic and energetic guide to the world of factory design, manufacturing schedules, supply chains, and process management.”

– Philip Delves Broughton, Author of “Ahead of the Curve”

“In the last few years, [Zeynep] Ton has become a revolutionary force in a field that would seem unlikely to generate many — the Kafkaesque-titled Operations Management. Her central thesis is that many of [the] big-box retailers have been making a strategic error… but she believes her core findings are relevant in nearly every industry. After re-evaluating the relationship between worker management and profit, she argues that many corporate leaders will realize that paying their workers more and treating them better will actually make everyone better off. And this, indeed, would foment a small revolution.”

— The New York Times Magazine

“…at a time when the complexity of workers’ jobs is increasing and labour force investment declining, [“The Good Jobs Strategy”] is a methodically researched riposte to cutting staff and wages.”

— Financial Times

“In this brilliantly conceived and written book, Zeynep Ton shows that companies that view their workforce as an asset to be maximized rather than a cost to be minimized, have both happier workers and better business results. This book is a ‘must-read’ for anyone that wants to think creatively about how they manage their workforce.”

— Marshall Fisher, professor at The Wharton School and co-author of “The New Science of Retailing”

“Using years of research and analysis, Zeynep Ton has proven what great leaders know instinctively—an engaged, well-paid workforce that is treated with dignity and respect creates outsized returns for investors. She demonstrates that the race to the bottom in retail employment doesn’t have to be the only game being played. In fact, The Good Jobs Strategy shows that smart business leaders can create great shareholder value while creating good jobs.”

— Jose Alvarez, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and former president and CEO of Stop & Shop

“Stop the presses. Tear out the front page. Employers can increase profits by paying their employees more and treating them better. Raising wages and improving working conditions is not just a matter of public policy. The private sector itself can make a huge difference.  Everyone who cares about good jobs—and especially every CEO—needs to read this highly informative and thoroughly readable book.”

— Peter Edelman, professor of law at Georgetown Law Center and author of “So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America”

“In ‘The Good Jobs Strategy’, Zeynep Ton offers insights into how successful companies utilize operational excellence to thrive, and she reminds us that the spirit and culture of an organization—that sparkle in the eye—comes only from fully engaged employees.”

— Michael Eskew, former CEO of UPS

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