Working Conditions Prize

This prize would challenge teams to create a solution that awards a badge of certification to companies that treat their employees fairly and with dignity. It has the ability to monitor any and all workplaces for worker satisfaction and productivity. This certification would provide broader access to good quality jobs with living wages, stable scheduling, retirement benefits, child care, paid time off, and other non-wage benefits.

@bedomin, @dianadaniels, @hjohnson, I’d like to ask your opinion on this idea for an XPRIZE competition. Do you think it would make a big difference for low-wage and low-skilled workers?

This is a promising idea. Ideally, legal restrictions such as the minimum wage are supposed to increase the probability that our goods and services are produced ethically. But clearly that is not sufficient.

The challenge is in the implementation. Many 'best places to work for"-type rankings that currently exist are easily gameable; companies have targeted campaigns to e.g. fill out enough surveys to make the list. This makes it very difficult for smaller or less resourced firms to compete.

In order for such a badge to have meaning, the organization or group issuing the badge would need to be able to do the following: a) trace fragmented supply chains to verify working conditions even for “down-chain” workers; b) be accessible to companies that may not have the money to lobby for prizes or put together campaigns; c) have some claim to objectivity.

Perhaps those would be some of the challenges prize participants would take on.

This initiative is fantastic, but also it is equally important to see how the SME where in may places is the responsible more than half of the employment. Small and medium enterprises, to gt a certificate that type also would need an stimulus, in a way to then do not create an “under the water” ecosystem, that since they may not have the means to do al the certification, still continue to be included, so they can provide a good level of decent work and salary to employees that may not be as skilled as big companies required…

This is a fantastic idea where the onus is on businesses. Great way to motivate the businesses and if there is possibility of including tax credits for businesses that get certified, that would be icing on the cake.

I agree that this is a powerful idea, because it puts the onus on companies to create quality workplaces. I would want to limit it to sectors with large numbers of low-wage workers, or at least emphasize that the prize is for solutions geared that segment of the industry’s workforce. There are many companies that provide excellent job quality and benefits and to its executives and professional staff, so you’d want to ensure these solutions were to address inequities in job quality and working conditions. Interestingly, my fitness center, closing temporarily because of COVID-19, assured members that full time fitness staff would continue to draw a paycheck, but they didn’t mention what would happen to the cleaning staff (perhaps contractors). I wrote to ask, but received no reply.

Thank you all for the feedback!

I wonder if this coronavirus outbreak will lead to a broader reevaluation of contracting, gig work, etc. As @Sandy points out, even if companies continue to pay their regular staff, they may not continue to pay contractors - and those are typically the lowest-paid and most precarious workers.

We are now redirecting our prize design toward a Rapid-Response Workforce Prize, which looks at this very issue as well. We’d appreciate your thoughts on that!

If you go with this prize, it would be good to check out Job Quality Fellowship - The Aspen Institute

It is important to review the purpose-driven global initiatives that are helping to make real the goal of this Xprize:

SistemaB (Latin America):
Management Innovation Exchange - MIX:
Humanistic Management Network:
Conscious Capitalism:
Self-Management Institute - SMI:
Society for Organizational Learning - SoL:
In addition to the above: Worldblue, Holocracy, impactHUB, and Beyond Budgeting