Hats off to Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who founded Chobani in 2005. Yesterday, Ulukaya announced that he is giving shares worth up to 10% of the company to the 2,000 full-time employees of Chobani. The rest of ‘corporate America’ should sit up and take notice. “I’ve built something I never thought would be such a success, but I cannot think of Chobani being built without all these people.” Since Chobani is now widely considered to be worth several billion dollars, the generosity of the company’s founder could mean large windfalls for employees when and if the company goes public or is sold. One financial analyst estimated the average would be $150,000, while $1 million is not inconceivable. Number of shares will be based on seniority. This is incentive. This is motivation. This, Mr. Donald Trump, is the right way to run a business.
Mr. Ulukaya started Chobani in 2007 with a loan from the Small Business Administration and five employees. Today, he has more than 2,000 employees across the country and the company produces more than $1 billion in revenue a year. Mr. Ulukaya is a philanthropist in a number of ways. He is a vocal supporter of a higher minimum wage and has hired hundreds of refugees. He’s also signed the Giving Pledge, created by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates to encourage billionaires to give away much of their wealth. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, again Mr. Trump, this is how corporations should operate.
After reading the article about Mr. Ulukaya and his generosity, his attitude toward his employees, I began to wonder what are the best and worst companies to work for in the U.S. So I did some research and frankly was not too surprised by the results, with a couple of exceptions.
10 Best Companies to Work For (data obtained from 24/7 Wall St.; ratings are x out of 5.0)
- Facebook – 10,082 employees – 4.5 rating
- Linkedin – 6,900 employees – 4.5 rating
- Insight Global – 11,561 employees – 4.5 rating
- Google – 53,600 employees – 4.4 rating
- McKinsey & Company – 17,000 employees – 4.2 rating
- Expedia – 18,210 employees – 4.1 rating
- Adobe Systems – 12,499 employees – 4.1 rating
- Apple – 97,000 employees – 4.0 rating
- Nike – 63,600 employees – 4.0 rating
- Chick-fil-A – > 1,000 employees – 3.9 rating
Predictably, salaries, benefits, opportunities for advancement, flexible scheduling, friendly workplace, free products, work-life balance (in tech companies), perks (gym, laundry service, child care facility) were among the reasons most cited for company satisfaction. The common overall theme for success was “putting people first…and treating your employees with great care and kindness.”
10 Worst Companies to Work For (data obtained from 24/7 Wall St.; ratings are x out of 5.0)
- Books-A-Million Inc. – 5,400 employees – rating: 2.0
- Express Scripts Holding Co. – 29,975 employees – rating 2.2
- Frontier Communications Corp. – 13,650 employees – rating 2.3
- A. Bank Clothiers Inc. – 6,459 employees – rating 2.3
- Brookdale Senior Living Inc. – 49,000 employees – rating 2.3
- Dillard’s Inc. – 40,000 employees – rating 2.3
- ADT Corp. – 17,000 employees – rating 2.4
- hhgregg Inc. – 6,100 employees – rating 2.4
- Family Dollar Stores Inc. – 58,000 employees – rating 2.4
- The Children’s Place Inc. – 16,500 employees – rating 2.4
Most common complaints were long hours, low pay, poor management, management out of touch with employees, most employees part-time so company does not have to pay benefits.
These lists, of which there are many from a wide variety of sources, are subjective, but given that many of the same companies were found on most lists, I believe they are relatively valid. One thing to note is that the majority of the ‘best’ companies are tech companies, where the employees are more likely to be highly educated, skilled workers, as opposed to the ‘worst’ companies, where the average employee is likely to be less skilled and work for lower wages.
In the words of my late mother-in-law, “you get what you pay for”. This is true, and companies would be well-advised to heed those words. Mr. Ulukaya just bought himself a heap of loyalty, and I will not be surprised to see Chobani on the top 10 list next year.