Paying employees a ‘thriving wage’

MegaFood already ranked high in the percentage of employees paid a single living wage but knew it could do better

MegaFood is a vitamin and food supplement company founded in New Hampshire in 1973, is a certified B Corporation, that emphasizes sustainable business practices and continually strives to amplify its positive impact.

B Corp certification, which is granted to companies that uphold the highest standards for social and environmental impact and accountability, is a natural fit for MegaFood. As part of the process of completing the B Corp business impact assessment, MegaFood evaluated its employee payment structure through a living wage lens. Calculated based on geography, living wage is a standard metric published each year through research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It incorporates the cost of living in an area with the wage an employee would need to earn to cover basic needs. MegaFood’s Just One Thing presentation last fall at NHBSR’s Sustainability Slam focused on how the company raised wages for employees to ensure all were making a living wage.

Through reviewing its employee compensation structure, MegaFood initially discovered that, compared to other similarly sized manufacturers, it ranked high in the percentage of employees paid a single living wage. But the company manufacturer didn’t stop there. It made a commitment to pay all of its employees an even better wage, a model it continues to evaluate and strives to improve — the company recently committed to paying all employees at least 25% above the living wage to what it calls a “thriving wage.”

Such a sweeping, company-wide
effort might sound daunting and complicated, but, according to Ashley LaRochelle, MegaFood’s director of vision activation, “Our amazing team crunched the numbers, explained the shared value, and made final recommendations to our executive team. We were able to implement changes within a year.”

She added that “the jump to living wage and then to thriving wage was only a bit of a challenge the first year. After that, these processes for assessing employee compensation and making sure it continues to be the best that we can do each year just became standard.”

The impact on the lives of employees has been immense, she said. MegaFood employees at NHBSR’s Sustainability Slam spoke about not only being better able to afford things like childcare, continued education, healthcare and home ownership, but also to be able to build up savings.

Wages are just part of MegaFood’s broader compensation package, which includes 12 weeks of primary and six weeks of secondary caregiver leave, paid medical family leave, extensive healthcare coverage and paid volunteer hours.

Raising wages for employees also benefited the company itself, helping MegaFood with recruitment and retention in a highly competitive manufacturing field.

Editor’s note: Throughout the year, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility collects “Just One Thing” stories of sustainability initiatives from businesses across the state. These efforts are then showcased as part of the organization’s Sustainability Slam, to be held Thursday, Nov. 7, at LaBelle Winery in Amherst.

Categories: Just One Thing