Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder

Creating Value by Investing in Your Workforce

by Jody Heymann

Number of pages: 288

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

BBB Library: Human Resources

ISBN: 9781422123119

About the Author

Heymann is the founder of the Project on Global Working Families and the Institute for Health and Social Policy. She is a professor in the Faculties of Medicine and Arts at McGill University.


Editorial Review

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.

Book Reviews

"Profit At The Bottom Of The Laddershould not only be required reading for companies and legislators, but also advocacy and consumer groups as well." Daily Kos

"Jody Heymann’s book with Madga Barrera, The Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder: Creating Value by Investing in Your Workforce, examines the close relationship between improved employee working conditions and a company’s bottom-line success." Next Billion

Books on Related Topics

Wisdom to Share

Providing better wages, work scheduling flexibility, and improving general working conditions can have significant benefits for companies in terms of increasing employee motivation, retention, productivity, and product quality.

Codes of conduct set the rules for improving working conditions, but in order to achieve meaningful results, it is essential to integrate their principles into all branches of the company.

Others contend that this means settling for lower standards rather than pursuing more ambitious changes.

The most common way to establish ground rules is to develop a code of conduct that lays out the company’s official requirements for its overseas facilities and suppliers.

Research has found that firms that offer training opportunities attract more competent workers who are also more likely to stay with the firm.

The risks are equally profound when low-asset employees and their families endure economic downturns.

It has become conventional wisdom that firms can obtain an important competitive advantage by paying the lowest wages they can get away with, thereby reducing their labor costs.

While employees have always cared about their company’s competitiveness because it assures the long-term stability of their jobs, they clearly also care about the quality of their working conditions, compensation, and daily lives.