Huffington Post Business offers an interesting article on employee happiness. According to a survey by the website Glassdoor, employees at Costco are happier than higher paid professionals at big name firms. What’s the secret to Costco’s success in making its employees smile? Employees appreciate the company’s healthcare plan. Costco’s CEO is an advocate for raising the minimum wage, and his company pays a minimum of $11.50 an hour. It pays to treat employees well. That’s Costco’s secret. Many employers could learn from its example.
Laura Clawson of Daily Kos contrasts retail stores that will be open on Thanksgiving and those that won’t. She quotes statements by an executive from Costco, who says that his company respects its employees, and an executive from Walmart, who says something about employees being excited to work on a “high energy day.”
While I think the companies are wrong to be open on this day, we as consumers bear guilt for this circumstance. If consumers valued the holiday over bargains, the stores would not be open. Corporations may be vile in their love of profit, but we are too often complicit in beating up our fellow workers.
Not all CEOs want to beat down wages. Craig Jelinek of Costco declared that the minimum wages should be $10.10 an hour. His company has a history of paying its workers fairly, unlike its primary competitor, Sam’s Club (Walmart). Costco’s starting wage is $11.50 per hour.
I think it’s great that an executive of a leading company has joined this debate. However, people need to vote – with their feet. If Costco supports working people, they need to repay that support and stop shopping at places that do not pay decent wages or treat works poorly. Consumers can change corporate behaviors if they stop spending their money at companies that want to take more and more from employees. A good way to start would be to shop at Costco.