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

In the U.S., people have a lot of choices about where they can shop, eat, and be entertained.

This means we can reward companies that are good to their employees by giving them our business and punish those that pay low wages by shopping at the competition.

Here are a list of five companies that are doing right by their employees and are worthy of receiving our hard-earned dollars.

They’re also great places for people who are looking for a job to consider.


Photo by Sota/Flickr

1. In-N-Out

Ask someone from the west coast what their favorite burger is and they will undoubtedly say “In-N-Out!”

Well, not only does it make great food, but it’s a wonderful place to work, too. In 2018, Glassdoor ranked it as the 4th best place to work in the entire country.

The average In-N-Out cashier makes about $12 an hour, while in comparison, a McDonald’s cashier only makes around $8.

The company is also known for promoting managers from within, creating job growth opportunities for its employees.

In 2012, In-N-Out store managers made more than $120,000 on average. By comparison, the median pay for food service managers across restaurants nationwide is around $48,000 per year, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The company also gives great benefit packages, including: retirement accounts, health plans, and three weeks of paid vacation a year for those who've been with the company more than six years.

Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr

2. Costco

According to Glassdoor, the average entry-level wage at Costco is $13 an hour and most of its employees receive health benefits and pension plans.

One reason why Costo pays more than the average warehouse retailer is because it believes its employees should be compensated for their hard labor.

In 2016, Costco increased it’s entry-level wage from $11.50 or $12 an hour. “We want to be the premium at all levels,” Costco CFO Richard Galanti told CNN Money.

"And frankly in some markets, this is a physical challenging, a physically challenging job," Galanti said. "You're on your feet, you're lifting cases, you're pushing carts at these entry level jobs. And so we thought it was time to do it.”

Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr

3. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's offers a fair wage (starting salaries are around $13 an hour), along with health and vacation benefits and relatively flexible schedules. This flexibility is part of the company's commitment to healthy employees.

Employees get their schedules far ahead of time so they can schedule their lives outside of work. They also allow employees to work from home when possible.

This commitment to health also means that its employees receive paid sick days and paternal leave.

“When people have some level of control, it diminishes workplace stress and the challenges that come with balancing home, family, work — simultaneously,” Casey Chosewood of the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health told HuffPost. “That is extremely important in decreasing stress.”

Photo by Jack Kennard/Flickr

4. Starbucks

Bad pun alert: working at Starbucks really has its perks.

Starbucks has great benefit programs and, unlike most employers, it offers them to people who work as little as 20 hours a week.

Starbucks offers bonuses, 401(k) matching, discounted stock purchase options, adoption assistance, college tuition reimbursement, health coverage for families, and of course, free coffee.

Photo by Brian Kelley/Flickr

5. Ben & Jerry’s

Hippie Vermont ice cream entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are definitely committed to giving their employees a living wage. As of 2015, full-time employees were paid $16.92 an hour, more than double the federal minimum wage.

The company regularly recalculates its wage based on the cost of living in Vermont.

Full-time employees also get health benefits and a fun, dog-friendly office with a nap room, massage room, and lots of free ice cream (three pints per person, per day, to be precise).

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.