Culture Champions: 3 Stocks Worth Buying for Their Winning Workplaces

Stocks to buy

A poll conducted by Axios and The Harris Poll between March 13 and March 28 of this year surveyed more than 16,000 people. They were looking for companies with a positive work culture.

The survey asked the participants to name the two brands with the best and worst reputations. They devised a list of the 100 “most visible” in America from this question. The brands were then rated on nine reputation dimensions to develop a Reputational Quotient (RQ) score. The 100 most visible companies were ranked based on that score.

The poll found that the companies in the top 100 were very good at bringing employees together to follow their values, beliefs and mission.

Companies have found that what’s good for employees is also good for the business.

Axios reported that Integral Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ethan McCarty commented on the matter. He said, “Our research shows that employees who see their own values reflected in their employer’s are more than twice as likely to go the extra mile for a client or colleague, advocate for their employer on social media, and stick with the company when it hits a crisis.”

Based on the rankings, I’ve created my list of three stocks with winning workplaces.

Costco (COST)

Costco Stock May Be the Market’s Top Recession Pick

Source: Shutterstock

Costco (NASDAQ:COST) ranked 2nd in the poll with an RQ score of 82.1. The wholesale club’s score shot up 24 spots in this year’s survey.

I’ve always been a big fan of Costco as a business and a stock to own for the long haul. Its membership fees remain its unique selling proposition. Like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), I’m sure it will find discrete ways to eliminate bulk buying for multiple parties in a single shopping trip.

E-commerce could be one way for it to do that. The company could have a cheaper tier for digital-only but provide some additional benefits that only shoppers walking in the store would get.

In fiscal 2013 (August year-end), Costco’s membership fees were $2.29 billion. Ten years later, they were $4.22 billion, a compound annual growth rate of 6.3%. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s essential to the company’s profitability.

In fact, over the past decade, Costo’s operating margin has increased substantially while its revenues have doubled. What a business!

Oppenheimer analyst Rupesh Parikh agreed.

“Costco has one of the most defensible moats in all of retail,” wrote Oppenheimer analyst Rupesh Parikh, who upped his price target on the shares to $630 from $575 on Tuesday. He also said, “the company’s attractive everyday low prices, uniquely differentiated offerings in big-ticket categories, fuel offerings and other bells and whistles of a Costco membership, such as a very attractive cash-back credit card, distinguish it versus peers.”

Deere & Co. (DE)

Several John Deere vehicles are parked outside of a building.

Source: Jim Lambert /

Deere & Co. (NYSE:DE) has the enviable task of equipping the world’s farmers so they can deliver on the global food system’s needs — big and small — without having to deal with the ins and outs of food, beverage and health regulations.

Deere stock has not had a good year in the markets. It’s up less than 2% year-to-date. However, over the past five years, it’s gained more than 200%, more than three-fold better than the S&P 500.

As for the Axios Harris Poll 100, the company ranked 3rd with a score of 82.0. It earned third last year as well.

Always looking for ways to generate new revenue streams, Deere announced on July 29th that it was partnering with EGO, a manufacturer of more than 70 battery-powered lawn care products, to sell EGO’s products in John Deere dealerships across the U.S. and Canada.

More importantly, the two companies are working on developing new electric-powered products in the future. While details are scarce, Deere will likely bring its manufacturing know-how, and EGO will supply the lithium-ion battery experience.

It’s a smart move on Deere’s part. I’ve used EGO products for several years. They’re excellent.

Deere’s enterprise value of $178 billion is just 11.5x earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), lower than it’s been since 2018.

In the long term, it’s a winner.

Toyota Motor (TM)

Toyota motor corporation logo on dealership building

Source: josefkubes /

Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) is one of those companies that doesn’t do anything impulsively — even when it means losing billions in revenue. The company has faced plenty of criticism for the slow pace at which it’s been developing electric vehicles (EVs).

However, once they make a decision, they go all in. That appears to be what’s happening on the EV front.

According to InsideEVs, the company’s first next-generation EV will be a Lexus with more than 600 miles of range on one charge. That vehicle will appear in 2026. By 2028, it claims the vehicles will get 900 miles per charge.

That will happen because of a bipolar lithium iron phosphate battery scheduled for mass production in 2026/2027. A year or two later, it’s slated to begin production of an advanced version that will be nearly 100 miles more of a single charge.

If all goes according to plan, Toyota will have pumped out 1.7 million EVs using this technology by 2030.

On July 5, Toyota reported that its U.S. business unit sold 195,448 vehicles in June, 14.9% higher than in June 2022. Of those, 26.4% were either fully-electric or hybrid. Investors should expect this number to get higher in the years ahead.

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.