+
More

5 successful corporations show what can happen when employees are paid a living wage.

These companies are great places to work — and that doesn't hurt their bottomline.

True
Civic Ventures

We've heard this idea many times: industries must pay workers a minimum wage to keep their prices low and profits high.

The argument goes that if companies are required to pay employees more, there will be fewer jobs available or prices will have to go up.

Image via iStock.


But is that true?

A 2016 National Employment Law Project study looked at job growth trends every time the federal minimum wage increased (since it was first established in 1938). It found no correlation between federal minimum wage increases and lower employment levels.

Instead, the data suggests that employment actually increased about 68% of the time in the year after a minimum wage increase.

This is because when companies increase wages, workers spend their additional earnings, increasing demand. This, in turn increases business, creating jobs and innovation.

Image via iStock.

Luckily, many companies are choosing to do better by their employees — not only becoming great places to work but also proving this "trickle-down" theory of business wrong:

1. In-N-Out

Image via iStock.

In-N-Out has been named one of Glassdoor’s 2017 Best Places to Work, which is determined by employee ratings. This isn’t the first time the chain has been praised for being a great place to work; year after year, it ranks high on Glassdoor’s rankings.

The average In-N-Out associate makes around $12 an hour according to Glassdoor, which is above the national minimum wage of $7.25. The company is also known for promoting managers from within, creating job growth opportunities for its employees, and according to the OC Register, managers are paid well above the national average for restaurants.

The company's benefits include retirement accounts, health plans, and three weeks' vacation a year for those who have worked for the company more than six years. This fast food organization is also renowned for prioritizing work-life balance and a healthy work culture. Managers who meet their goals even get the additional perk of an all-expenses-paid trip abroad, according to Thrillist.

Photo via iStock.

In-N-Out demonstrates how it's possible to operate a profitable, popular food chain without mistreating employees or relying on the trickle-down minimum wage myth.

2. Costco

Costco takes care of its employees and pays a living wage, which just this past March, rose again. The company’s entry-level pay is now $13 an hour for new and current employees, up from $11.50.  And most of Costco’s employees receive health benefits and pension plans.

Higher-paid workers at Costco — who make around $22.50 an hour — are also reported to be receiving a raise of about 2.5% this year.

Image via iStock.

Keeping its employees happy is important to Costco. “We think this will help, and it’s important to do,” Costco CFO Richard Galanti told CNN Money. “We want to be the premium at all levels.”

The wage increases don’t seem to be hurting business either. Costco is the second largest U.S. retailer — second only to Walmart, which also reportedly raised wages this past year for hourly workers. In addition, in March, the company reported an overall increase in cardholders from 82.7 million to 84 million — showing that keeping employees happy can make customers happy too.

3. Trader Joe’s

Image via iStock.

This popular grocery store also treats its workers with respect and fairness. While Trader Joe's is somewhat secretive about the way it runs its business, it is clear that the company goes out of its way to foster loyalty among its employees by making it a good working environment. They offer a fair wage (starting salaries are around $13 an hour), along with health and vacation benefits and relatively flexible schedules.

Turnover at Trader Joe's is around 4% yearly, according to a study published in a Pepperdine University business journal — which is substantially below that of traditional supermarkets. This means that the company doesn’t have to as much waste time and money training new employees and can invest more in the ones it already has.

4. Starbucks

Image via iStock.

Offering a strong benefit package is an example of what this coffee giant means when it refers to its employees as “partners.” Starbucks offers bonuses, 401(k) matching, discounted stock purchase options, adoption assistance, college tuition reimbursement, health coverage for families, and of course, free coffee.

What makes its benefits packages even better though is that you don’t have to be a full-time employee to receive it — part-time employees that work at least 20 hours a week can get the benefits too. And, since Starbucks started offering its college tuition reimbursement program, its employee retention rate has improved, according to The Atlantic.

5. Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s gets a gold star when it comes to taking care of its employees. The ice cream company pays all its full-time workers a livable wage — $16.92 in 2015 — that is more than double the federal minimum wage. It also recalculates this livable wage every year to make sure it is keeping up with the actual cost of living, factoring in things like food, housing, and fuel costs.

Image via iStock.

Full-time employees also get health benefits, along with a bunch of other neat perks too, including a dog-friendly office (what's better than taking your furry friend to the office?), an employee nap room, a massage room, and lots of free ice cream (three pints per person, per day, to be precise).

None of these policies have held Ben & Jerry’s back like trickle-down economics says it should. “We outsell the overall U.S. ice cream market and profits are at the top end of the industry,” wrote board member Jeff Furman in an op-ed in Fortune. “Globally, we operate in more than 30 countries.”

By investing in their employees, these companies are reaping the benefits — turnover is down, productivity is up, and workers are loyal, motivated, and proud of their work.

Image via iStock.

And these companies have done all this while still keeping customers happy and building their businesses.

These five corporations are not only liked by their employees, but they are also shining examples of what can happen when we start to question the myth that low wages are the only way for companies to thrive.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

Keep ReadingShow less

A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

Keep ReadingShow less

Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

Keep ReadingShow less