Mad Money

Just Capital's Dan Hesse: Companies that do good things have higher returns

Key Points
  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer sat down with Just Capital's Dan Hesse, the former CEO of Sprint, to get an inside look at consumers' opinions about corporate America.
  • Just Capital recently conducted a survey of 72,000 individuals in the United States about how they wanted to see companies act.
  • Hesse broke down the most eye-opening results and what they mean for business leaders and consumers alike.
Just Capital's Hesse: Companies that do good things have higher returns

Companies that enforce employee-centric and customer-centric cultures are likely to see better financial gains than their competitors, Just Capital's Dan Hesse told CNBC on Wednesday.

"What we've seen from a financial performance point of view is that you have ... [a] higher return on equity of these companies that do good things," Hesse, the former CEO of Sprint, told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.

Just Capital, a private, non-profit research firm, recently conducted a survey of 72,000 individuals across the United States to hear about what they wanted to see from the nation's top companies.

On Tuesday, Just Capital and Forbes released a ranking of the top 100 most "just" U.S. companies based on the results.

Hesse, a board member of Just Capital, acknowledged that many leading technology companies landed high in the ranks, with Intel, Texas Instruments and Nvidia taking the top three spots.

"Part of it, I think, is keeping up with one another," he said of the tech players. "They're competing for the same talent. They're competing for the same customers."

But one of the most sweeping commonalities was how consumers felt about tax reform, Hesse said.

While investors might get excited about the potential for share buybacks and dividend increases if corporate tax reform is passed, consumers couldn't be less thrilled about it, Hesse said.

"If there's one overall theme in the data, it's that they believe companies are focused too much on just shareholders versus all the other stakeholders," he told Cramer.

"They'll say shareholders, yes, important, but your employees are No. 1 and your customers are No. 2," Hesse continued. "So are the communities, the environment, a lot of other stakeholders. So they will want to see companies take this money and invest in their employees and in some of these other areas."

And given the deep political divides in the country, sewn in part by the 2016 election, Hesse said the 72,000 survey participants agreed on more than they probably thought:

"With all of the differences politically, the results between Democrats and Republicans were amazingly similar in this survey."

Watch Dan Hesse's full interview here:

Just Capital's Dan Hesse: Companies that do good things have higher returns

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that "just" companies receive higher returns than their counterparts, according to Just Capital's survey.

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