Delta is the Industry Leader in Employee Profit Sharing and also the Best Rated Airline. Coincidence? We Think Not.

  • Delta Airlines is set to distribute $1.1 billion in profit sharing to its employees.
  • This is the fourth year in a row the company will have paid out over $1 billion, a first for any company.
  • Delta is also the highest rated airline, which indicates profit sharing models could have a positive impact on quality and efficiency.

Delta Airlines is giving its employees a Valentine’s present. The company has announced it will pay out a total of $1.1 billion of profit sharing to workers. The distributions will be divided among Delta’s 80,000 strong workforce.

“This is the fourth year in a row that Delta’s profit sharing has topped $1 billion — a milestone no company in history has ever achieved,” said Delta’s Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian. The airline has paid out more than $5 billion through its profit sharing program over the past five years, a first for any company.

The Wall Street Journal has also just announced that Delta has topped its list of best in class airlines for 2019. This is the third year in a row Delta has secured the top position.

This clearly begs the question, could these two pieces of data be related? Delta’s profit sharing plan has resulted in an 80 percent increase in total annual compensation since 2008.

The data strongly appear to indicate a positive correlation between employees benefiting from company surplus, and performance of that company. If this is true, higher degrees of employee surplus sharing should result in higher levels of company performance.

This begs the further question, would this relationship hold at further levels such as employee ownership? At the extreme, could wholly employee owned co-operatives outperform traditional stockholder owned firms? We at Economic Left will continue to monitor closely.

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