Social Impact

TED Talk: What makes a job “good”?

Warren Valdmanis is a Partner at Two Sigma Impact, a private equity business focused on workforce impact.  His TED Talk, titled What makes a job “good”–and the case for investing in people, was released on the TED platform on January 6, 2022.

I have long believed that investing in people is one of the best ways to create long-term value at companies. I was invited to share some of my thinking with the TED audience.

For the past few years, my colleagues and I have been focused on creating good jobs through our investment activities. When I was approached to give a TED talk on the topic of “Good Jobs”, I was excited. I realized that TED’s interest in the topic meant that many more people are also interested in answers to the same questions I (and my team) ask every day: “How do you define a good job?” and “How does creating good jobs make for more valuable companies?”

As our notions of jobs and of work rapidly evolve, and companies are competing more and more aggressively for talent, these discussions are becoming more commonplace.

Good jobs aren’t just good for society–they’re good business.”

The TED process gave me the opportunity to boil down years of thinking on the importance of good jobs into one ten-minute talk and four key elements:

  1. Fair treatment
  2. A promising future
  3. Psychological safety
  4. A sense of purpose

We know good jobs are critical to addressing economic inequality, but can good jobs also lead to more valuable companies? We believe so. Given the focus on short-term profits, sometimes investors miss the most important ingredient in building great companies: people. People don’t show up in financial statements except as a cost–so many view people as a line-item to be reduced rather than a company’s most important asset. At Two Sigma Impact, we disagree–good jobs are good business.

Preparing this talk was challenging but highly clarifying and deeply gratifying, and I hope you’ll give it a watch.

Visit Two Sigma Impact website.

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