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Can a Small, Apolitical Change Make for a Better World?

Post Published on November 6, 2022.
Last Updated on November 6, 2022 by davemackey.

Okay, I’m a bit eccentric (some might call me weird) and I spend more time researching products and services before making a purchase than most people I know. How eccentric? I like spreadsheets. I like to make a list of products from various manufacturers, compare the features and reviews. The more expensive the product the more time and research I’m likely to spend.

A few years ago I started adding another factor to my purchasing decisions besides the features and reviews of each product – employee satisfaction. I went to Glassdoor and searched for the various manufacturers of the products I was considering and looked at the employee satisfaction score.

This has not become the determinative factor in my purchasing decisions – but it is a factor. Given fairly equal features/scores the determinative factor for me often becomes how satisfied the employees are with their employer.

I’d suggest this a small way that we as consumers can make a difference in the world – by more consciously shaping our purchasing decisions around how employers treat their employees. I believe this is beneficial to us both as individuals and as a society and I also believe this process can be supported by individuals across the political spectrum.

Personal Benefit

Happy employees treat customers better than miserable employees.

  • If I someday need support for my product, I want to talk to someone who enjoys their work, not someone who is miserably waiting to escape.
  • If I want to trust the integrity of the build, I trust a happy employee to do quality work than someone who is disgruntled.
  • If I need to feel that my personal information is secure, I want to work with individuals who feel satisfied with their job, not individuals desperate for a change.
  • If I want a company to treat me like a human being, I know a company that treats their employees well is more likely to do so.
  • I am an employee and higher standards for employers translates into higher standards for my employer.

Societal Benefit

  • Employers are incentivized to treat their employees well knowing that customers are watching, this creates healthier, happier, more financially stable humans.
  • Positive change is implemented without controversial political battles.

What About?

I’m not suggesting that other more formal methods should not be pursued – I am suggesting that this is change we can actuate right now, without controversy, that could cause real change.

If you believe that labor unions will help, by all means, pursue them. If you believe that reducing corporate taxes will help, then advocate for those. But maybe we could all do this?

What Do You Think?

This seems like a no-brainer to me – but I’ve been wrong before.

What do you think? Is it worth a try?

Is there a reason why some would reject this idea – particularly, am I bumping up against either the right or the left’s conception of fairness? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Caveat

Glassdoor is not infallible. It’s possible to game the system. Just as the reviews of products can be gamed, so can reviews of employers. That said, we can take care of those issues as they occur. If folks really begin gaming employee review sites it will be because we are succeeding.

There are also other sources for finding job satisfaction than Glassdoor, for example Indeed. Are there others you’d recommend using?

There also isn’t much we can do when a company hasn’t been reviewed or has been reviewed by only a very few people. But if we can send a message to companies in general, if companies know we are watching, then perhaps they will respond?

This isn’t something new. Folks have boycotted or supported companies for many years – but this is a bit more data-driven and applies to more companies. Rather than focusing on one or two (or ten) big companies we can focus on the majority of companies. In the past we might have targeted (positively or negatively) Walmart, Target, GM, Ford, IBM, Microsoft, etc. But this allows for more nuanced endeavors and probably with companies (mid-size) where consumer action can more visibly have an impact.

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