A New Way to Advocate for Quality Work
By investing in Quality Work, we say that our workplaces should be places where we learn, feel appreciated, and continue to grow.
Americans are workers.
We spend a lot of time at work: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American works 34.5 hours per week, or approximately 7.69 hours per day. This is much more than other employees around the world. In fact, a 2016 study showed that we work 25% more hours than Europeans do. That’s the equivalent of 258 more hours per year or one additional hour of work each day.
And a third of us work even longer. The Nation reports that 1/3 of Americans work more than 45 hours per week, and nearly 10 million work more than 60 hours.
With so much time put in at our workplaces, we want to make sure it’s time spent wisely, in places where we feel valued, safe, and able to grow. In other words, we want careers with employers who provide quality work.
But what exactly is quality work, anyway?
What is Quality Work?
Here at COIN, we consider quality work to be work that is rewarding and valuable with lifelong learning opportunities. It’s safe and respectful workspaces, where people can bring their whole selves to work. Quality work is found at companies that invest in their employees through ongoing training and career advancement, hire in their communities from underserved populations, or offer paths to full employment for interns or contractors. Additionally, it’s work with employers that provide good benefits, like health insurance and retirement plans.
When we think of Quality Work, we also look to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for guidance, specifically UN Global Goal 4 – Quality Education and UN Global Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth. These goals say that work should enable people to earn a living in a dignified way, under safe and fair conditions, so they can live independent lives.
We believe quality workplaces should apply to all types of industries, whether blue collar or white collar, and to every employee, whether it’s a new hire starting their first job out of college or an executive in senior management.
So, how do we become advocates for quality work? As individuals, we can think about quality work for ourselves by seeking out good jobs as we build our own careers. We can work with our employers to create spaces where everyone feels safe and valued. We can encourage our friends and family to do the same at their own workplaces.
Now, though, we can also go one step further and invest in companies that are already leading the way by promoting quality work.
How Can My Investment Dollars Support Quality Work?
When you decide to invest in quality work, your investments can go to companies that give employees opportunities to learn and grow, like tuition reimbursement programs or paying for professional certificates. You can also invest in companies committed to safe workplaces, such as businesses that have regular safety inspections. Additionally, your investment dollars could go to companies that train and/or hire underserved populations, such as veterans or new graduates.
Additionally, when you invest in quality work, your money steers clear of companies that have poor records of employee satisfaction or those with dangerous work environments.
Investing in quality work also lets company leaders know that you support how they treat their employees, the safe working conditions they’ve created, and the ongoing opportunities they provide. When more conscious investors invest in a similar way, we all send a powerful message together that quality work policies appeal to investors, now and in the future.
Which Companies are Committed to Quality Work?
Check out a few companies that have created work environments where people feel safe, appreciated, and able to grow in their careers.
- The Walt Disney Company: Disney’s international labor standards program regularly measures and makes improvements in working conditions at any facility that produces Disney-branded products. Finally, the company’s Aspire program enables hourly employees to pursue a wide variety of diplomas or professional certificates, with 100% of tuition paid upfront.
- JP Morgan Chase: The global financial services firm has eight components of its corporate social responsibility program, including initiatives for jobs and skills development, financial health education, and post-service support for military members and veterans. One standout, JP Morgan’s Invest in Detroit program, pledged $100 million over five years to provide job skills training and technical education to more than 15,000 Detroit residents. In 2019, the company expects to increase that spend to $150 million.
- Starbucks: The coffee giant is “committed to creating and investing in opportunities for people around the world” through programs that encourage diversity, inclusion, and getting a college degree. In the U.S., for example, in partnership with Arizona State University’s online program, Starbucks’ College Achievement Plan has a goal for 25,000 employees to get college degrees by 2025. By March 2018, more than 1,200 employees had graduated and 10,000 were enrolled.
How Can I Get Started Investing in Quality Work?
If you’re interested in investing in quality work, check out the COIN Quality Work Impact Area, which covers companies that have strong training and development programs for their employees. Additionally, your investments could go to companies that have a good track record for employee turnover and layoffs, or few worker safety incidents.
As Americans, work is a huge part of our lives. Now, with our conscious investments, we can say that quality work is important and worth supporting for both ourselves and future workers. By investing in quality work, we say that our workplaces should be places where we learn, feel appreciated, and continue to grow.