JUST Capital, Schultz Family Foundation, and the American Opportunity Index Partner to Explore Practices and Policies that Lead to Worker Mobility and Opportunity

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Recruitment and retention remain key challenges corporate leaders faced this year. Against a backdrop of unionization drives, strikes, return-to-office plans, and AI evolution, workers are continuing to ask for what they want in a good job and are willing to voice their discontent – or find another role – if they feel overlooked. One central component they’re seeking? Opportunity. A majority of workers expect employers to prioritize advancement, career development, and skills-building – but too many executives are not following through.    

JUST Capital’s polling of the American public consistently finds that Americans want to see investment in creating quality jobs that lead to opportunities for the workforce from companies. Americans we polled across party lines overwhelmingly agree that it’s a company’s responsibility to create quality jobs by providing clear career pathways to job opportunities with higher pay (83%) and regularly increasing wages to keep up with the rapidly rising cost of living (87%). 

Investing in workers also makes operational sense for businesses. Research shows that when employers give workers learning opportunities in the workplace, they’re less likely to leave. Similar findings highlight that “employment capital” – non-wage components of work like benefits and career advancement prospects – are important to job quality and economic security. JUST data also finds that companies with better disclosure and performance on human capital issues don’t suffer financial consequences beyond short-term profit maximization and tend to outperform their Russell 1000 peers. 

When companies invest in their employees’ careers and provide opportunities for advancement within and beyond the company, it’s something to celebrate. At JUST, we firmly believe in the importance of elevating business leadership on the issues of importance to the American people. It’s why we’ve been excited to partner on the Worker Financial Wellness Initiative, create Rankings that track performance on the issues that matter most in defining just business behavior, and highlight the state of disclosure on key workers metrics. It’s also why we’re excited to partner with The American Opportunity Index, which assesses economic mobility and opportunity generation for American workers at some of the largest employers in the country. The Index highlights leaders in real-world outcomes for workers. But what are companies doing to create the conditions that lead to those opportunity outcomes for workers? 

JUST Capital is partnering with the Schultz Family Foundation and the American Opportunity Index to connect the dots on how corporate policies translate to real-world outcomes for workers. 

In a series of leadership spotlights, we’ll lift up examples of corporate policies and performance, tracked in JUST Capital’s forthcoming JUST Jobs Scorecard, that respond to the American public’s expectations of business today and create the positive outcomes for workers assessed in the Index. This work will serve as an opportunity to learn from leaders about their company’s journey, challenges, and successes in creating opportunity in the workplace. It will illuminate how strategic inputs – commonly disclosed workplace policies – can serve as actionable catalysts for economic opportunity and overall job quality. 

The Index assesses how well companies are investing in their workforce to drive business performance and individual employee growth by focusing on worker outcomes, i.e., the level of opportunity workers achieve within the company and beyond. And to understand what’s behind these leaders’ success, we must also look at the policies and practices in place that create an environment in which opportunities for workers to thrive exist. 

The series of spotlights on leaders’ policies and practices aims to offer guidance on specific actions that companies can take to drive opportunity and mobility for their workers. It will highlight key practices from JUST Capital’s JUST Jobs Scorecard that yield the impacts measured in the American Opportunity Index. Insights from the forthcoming JUST Jobs Scorecard and the recently released Index can be used together to understand what policies and practices – or inputs – create conditions for opportunity outcomes – or outputs. These tools together offer a look at the corporate journey from policy to outcome and can be helpful in informing job quality and worker strategy.

At JUST Capital, our understanding of companies’ stakeholder performance is grounded in recognizing crucial inputs that lay the foundation for desired outcomes. These inputs, such as pay equity policies and apprenticeship programs, form the basis of our analysis and align with the Index’s five performance areas.

As we establish this connection, it becomes imperative to pinpoint key inputs, or policies, that companies should prioritize when shaping and investing in their workers to influence the outcomes tracked by the Index. Companies can view these inputs as potential actions to adopt, in turn creating the conducive conditions necessary to foster more opportunity for their workers. By strategically implementing and emphasizing these policies, companies can shape a work environment that not only meets performance standards, but also enhances overall job quality and opens up avenues for professional growth and development.

As we delve into upcoming leadership spotlights, there is a valuable opportunity for companies to glean insights and enhance their performance in terms of job quality, influencing the real-world experiences of countless workers. We encourage companies to actively engage with the Index, understanding their own strengths and growth areas, while keeping an eye out for the JUST Jobs Scorecard in early 2024 to delve into specific data details around policies and practices. 

For more information on the American Opportunity Index, JUST Jobs Scorecard, our partnership, or more, please reach out to corpengage@justcapital.com

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