Reviews of Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder

“For too long, many corporate officers, boards of directors, and Wall Street analysts have taken it as axiomatic that higher compensation and benefits for ‘elite’ workers would make companies more productive and profitable- but that providing additional compensation and benefits for those at the other end of the economic ladder would be a waste of money. This book repeatedly turns that argument on its head, providing example after example of creative reengineering of work and benefit relationships, incentives, and job design that has made workers better off and – as a direct result—raised company profits at the same time. The book is nothing short of inspirational.”

Herman B. “Dutch” Leonard
Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration, and Faculty Co-Chair, Social Enterprise Initiative, Harvard Business School

“A must-read: Jody Heymann has hammered the last nail into the coffin of the economics of the low road. With her crack research team, Heymann uses a wide array of business case studies to reveal how becoming an employer of choice for the traditionally lowest paid is the route to high profitability and resilience for many of the world’s most successful companies.”

Juliet Schor
Author of Plenitude: The New Economics of Growth

“Heymann’s comprehensive look at the provocative issues surrounding the status and stability of lower-wage workers is certain to add to the national debate. Documenting how supporting these workers improves business’ bottom line, this book is a remarkable breaktrough!”

Donna Klein
President, Corporate Voices for Working Families

“Here’s a crazy idea for improving our economy: let’s encourage companies to offer incentives, training, flexibility, opportunities for engagement, and profit sharing to workers at the bottom of the earnings ladder as well as to those at the top. Pie in the sky? This book shows that it is both practical and profitable. The stories Heymann tells of company after company that raised productivity and profits by giving incentives and opportunity to all are a clarion call for moving beyond the Wall Street version of capitalism.”

Richard Freeman
Herbert Ascherman Professor of Economics, Harvard University

“Heymann synthesizes and analyzes 500 interviews undertaken by her research team on field visits to corporations worldwide that have increased profit and productivity by obtaining or providing “health, skills, training, motivation, input, and commitment” from the staff at the lower end of the income scale. Her own case studies are generously interspersed with clearly marked risk/reward analyses, capped off with a succinct chapter on “creating a blueprint” for your own company. With corporate social responsibility a trending topic, leaders looking for a bottom-line justification to do some good for staff at the lower end of the ladder should find inspiring ideas here. Easy to read, timely, and relevant; recommended.”

Brian Walton
Library Journal