Policies + Practices that will involve members of the business community in their roles as entrepreneurs and employers.
Governments should support the expansion of worker-owned and -controlled job-matching services, which would give workers power in the job-matching process and allow them to establish floors for wages and benefits and otherwise improve workplace standards, all while creating an empowered worker community.
Governments should pass laws to create mechanisms for digital picket lines, requiring employers to allow workers to mirror in-person collective action in online transactions. Functioning essentially as a disclosure regime, the digital picket line would require employers to allow workers to inform online customers about strikes occurring at the employer’s physical site.
Governments should pass statutes mandating that workplaces of a predetermined size have a worker-elected workplace monitor. In workplaces with 500 or fewer workers, there would be a single workplace monitor; in workplaces with more than 500 workers, the workers would elect 1 workplace monitor for every 500 workers. The monitors would be empowered to help ensure the workplace’s compliance with all state, federal, and local employment and labor laws and receive paid time off for their monitoring work.
Governments should expressly protect the right to collectively bargain among any independent contractors who: (1) do not employ any employees; (2) who make little capital investment—roughly defined as investment that is limited to the needs of the independent contractor personally (e.g., one car, one set of tools, one computer, etc.)—in their “businesses”; and (3)who share the same economic relationship with a single company.
Governments should require employers to facilitate workers’ communication by providing workers (and/or worker organizations) with a way to contact their coworkers. This obligation could run either to everyone in the organization, a default that many companies currently use (e.g., because their internal email address books include everyone in the organization); to all of the workers in an organization who are covered by labor law; or to subsets of workers who do similar jobs. This requirement could be as straightforward as requiring employers to provide workers with a list of company email addresses or other contact information, but a communications-facilitation requirement could be more effective if workers had a private forum for online communication.
Governments should expand access to skills training by making workers who lose their jobs eligible for a Dislocation Reskilling Account. The account would provide public funds to invest in training through an apprenticeship or other training program, with a community organization or at a community or technical college, to prepare workers who lose their jobs for new jobs created as a result of technological shifts in the workplace.
Governments should remove obstacles to participating in work and learning by closing gaps in access to medical and mental health care, including for those recovering from substance use disorders. Policies should work toward an ecosystem in which all workers, including those with disabilities, can participate in work and learning opportunities.
Given the difficulties identified by workers in transition of changing careers, internal pathways to management provide an accessible path toward greater economic stability and resilience to automation. However, women are much less likely to desire and pursue these internal promotions, due to factors such as less scheduling flexibility, greater presumed childcare and family responsibilities, and bad experiences in more demanding roles. Employers should address these concerns directly via scheduling and management changes to make management opportunities attractive and possible for women.
While some automated technologies raise productivity and deliver economic benefits that can help offset the impacts of displacement, others (labeled by some researchers as “so-so technology") may deliver limited benefit while adversely impacting workers. Governments and employers need more investigation and a more nuanced understanding of the merits of specific types of automation and technology, such as self-checkout. Defining “good” and “bad”—or, perhaps, “worse”—automation can be useful in regulating change, determining policy priorities, and deploying employer or worker incentives.
Policymakers and employers must address the question of what good jobs will be created to replace the lost jobs in administrative and clerical work, especially those that do not require an advanced degree to earn a family-sustaining wage. They should conduct further investigations to understand how clerical workers weathered transitions and job dislocation during the last several decades, when automation shrank the number of administrative jobs. The resulting lessons can be useful in connecting this workforce to new opportunities and in helping administrative workers keep pace with technological changes.
Educational institutions, trade associations, unions, and employers could use new technology and online models to offer workers non-degree credentials and ways to gain specific competencies. Some employers are already partnering with universities to offer online education benefits to their employees. Online or hybrid learning approaches can expand access to skill-building opportunities at a lower cost. This could help adults who are working, face transportation challenges, live far from training providers, or are balancing family responsibilities.
Governments, educational institutions, and employers should collaborate to explore the potential for formalized verified resumes. A verified resume is a document that records the skills and knowledge that people acquire through their lives, both as students and workers. Interest in verified resumes has grown in recent years with developments in blockchain technology that can reliably document skill verification by a distributed network of actors.
Public and private employment services should work together to provide career management assistance in the job search. Services could include support in cases of dismissal, legal advice on contracts, training, and career transition. This would help workers to find and retain jobs.
Companies should adjust their management models to be more collaborative and to give workers more autonomy and flexibility at work. In contrast to command-and-control models of the past, workers of today favor collaborative management patterns that allow them greater control over how they allocate their working time. Successful management models would be built on a collaborative, trusty-based, and transparent flat hierarchy. This would benefit businesses by allowing them to attract and retain talented workers while allowing workers the autonomy to best leverage their skills.
Governments should create regulations that require companies of a certain size to report on their contractual agreements with workers. Companies would be required to report the number of zero-hour contract workers who request and obtain fixed hour contracts, as well as the number of temporary employment agency workers who request and are granted permanent positions. This would make public company policies for outside observers that would otherwise be kept behind closed doors.
Businesses should measure and publish real time labor market data. Data covering skills demand and supply, future job forecasts, and other factors that influence employability could be used to create tools aimed at helping workers plan their careers and to design upskilling training program.. Policymakers and researchers could also use these data to better study local labor markets in order to plan for future changes.
To cut costs, business can reduce the hours of multiple workers rather than laying off workers, a practice known as work sharing. When demand increases, work sharing allows firms to increase the retained workers' hours as necessary. This gives business additional flexibility while allowing workers to avoid sudden unemployment.
Employers should develop industry and sector partnerships to create regional jobs and career pathways. Sector partnerships bring together local stakeholders—employers, colleges, education and training providers, labor representatives, and workforce development experts—to address challenges by developing education-to-employment talent pipelines and developing coursework and training that meet relevant skill needs. Workers benefit from instruction in in-demand skills, awareness of emerging job opportunities, and guidance on which degrees and certifications to pursue based on what local employers look for when hiring.
Governments can incentivize businesses to take a more active role in investing in worker training through the establishment of a Worker Training Tax Credit. Firms could create a base expenditure level for training expenses, and the credit would be a percentage of the difference between the current year qualified training expenditure and the base expenditure. The credit would only cover training for non-highly compensated workers (less than $120,000 per year), the standard currently used in the Internal Revenue Code.
When laying off workers, employers should give their employees a warning with enough time to ease the transition of employees looking for new work. Policymakers can mandate this via legislation like The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires businesses to notify workers and the government of at least 60 days in advance of a mass layoff event. Layoffs cannot always be avoided, but transition planning should include as many stakeholders as possible to mitigate negative impacts and to find mutually beneficial solutions.
Employers should create broader ownership opportunities for their workers. This could include expanding executive stock and profit-sharing compensation systems to all workers; making stock compensation tax-free; deferring taxes on stock options; further limiting the deduction for executive compensation for companies that do not offer broad-based ownership options; and establishing a social insurance program to protect workers who own company stock from extreme losses. With an ownership stake, workers may be more supportive of automation. Worker ownership is associated with greater employment stability, as well as higher firm productivity, profitability, and longevity.
Policymakers should create worker-elected work councils and require a certain level of worker representation on corporate boards. Employers should be pushed to give workers a greater voice in decision-making that affects them, and workers need to be part of strategizing how to ensure automation decisions are made to benefit not only shareholders, but also workers and communities.
Policymakers should create worker-controlled Lifelong Learning and Training Accounts to be funded jointly by workers, employers, and government. Workers can use these funds to pay for learning programs over the course of their careers. All workers should have financial assistance and a portable system to help them access new education and training opportunities.
Governments should promote policies encouraging employers to reduce working hours, which would grant workers additional leisure time and redistribute productivity gains more equitably. More leisure time, combined with increased income and purchasing power, generates demand for new activities and products and grows the economy.
Employers should create “returnships,” or intern programs targeted to mid-career and older workers. Even when they are highly educated and qualified for particular positions, many older or career-switching job seekers face a stigma when applying for jobs. This could be reduced by the introduction of formalized work experience programs to help them return to the workforce.
Employers should use on-the-job training subsidies and tax incentives to hire individuals from underemployed groups. Private-sector recruitment strategies need to better address training and hiring of often overlooked populations of job seekers—including older, long-term unemployed job seekers, adults with disabilities, veterans, individuals with pastconvictions, opportunity youth (out of work & out of school)—and governments often provide underutilized programs and incentives.
The business community should be more transparent with its workforce data so that governments, nonprofit organizations, and other service providers can promote the use of education and workforce data to inform students, educators, policymakers, and investors. Additionally, in order for policymakers to address employer hiring challenges and skills gaps reported by employers, better information and analysis improves decisions with regard to where to make investments.
Firms should focus on the creation of better data environments to maximize the use of machine learning for public problem-solving. Efforts could focus on improving the systems and protocols by which data is defined, gathered, accessed and manipulated. This includes government initiatives for open public data, industry-government collaboration on data and code verification, or audits and policy frameworks (or agreements) to make strategic data available to specific users – with specified safeguards – in order to enable AI applications for societal and environmental benefits.
Firms should develop industry-wide and industry-regulator teamwork to aid in AI standard-setting (for example, through consensus protocols and smart contracts that include efficiency principles, or which require common agreement and governance).
Firms should establish board-level AI advisory units to ensure that their boards understand the implications of AI technology, including safety, ethics, and governance considerations.
Universities or employers should offer modules for students to earn "digital badges" that signal soft skill development. Formalizing and professionalizing these career markers can allow individuals to craft a career around roles that involve care work or otherwise do not require specialized training, many of which cannot be replaced by technology.
Investors should create and abide by a Charter for Ethical Technology Investments so that there exists a widespread standard for investing in ethical innovations. Investors are increasingly active in shaping the behavior of tech firms, and their influence can successfully pressure large companies to take into account the potential risks of technology on workers.
Tech companies should publicly disclose the makeup of their workforce, including demographic and educational data. Improving diversity within tech firms would benefit the public—since a tech workforce that mirrors society is more likely to create appropriate products for the whole of society—and improve company performance.
Tech companies should give hiring preference to applicants who have taken ethical modules.
Technology firms need to be more cognizant and deliberate with their recruitment practices. Ways to increase recruitment from marginalized groups include blind testing of applicants and partnerships with advocacy organizations. Improving the diversity of tech employees will bring dividends to the public, because a workforce that mirrors representation in society will create technology that all people can use.
Governments should partner with big firms to provide workers with some ownership of company assets to supplement their wages. This might be achieved via taxation or with an "inclusive ownership fund" formed by taking a percentage of shares from large companies. Asset equity offers a means to ensure that workers share in the benefits of new technology, and that they stand to gain a larger share of the economic growth driven by higher productivity.
Employers and governments should commit resources to developing new online analytical tools for a more effective matching process among jobs, workers, and training programs. These tools can employ data on required competencies, resumes, online job ads, and occupational demand to connect job seekers to jobs and postsecondary education and training programs that meet their needs. They can also assist mid- and late-career adults who need additional education, training, and career services to remain in the workforce.
Policymakers should use projections of education demand to inform workforce development planning. Proprietary analytical information and college administrative data can also be linked with state wage records in the process of retaining and attracting employers and industries to the state. Employer demand for talent has elevated the importance of workers with specific skills gained through postsecondary education and training.
Educational institutions should explore the use of occupational data and employer/industry expert feedback to develop competencies and learning outcomes for postsecondary education and training programs. Employers also can tailor their job ads to include academic competencies that employees need. Whether as part of a competency-based or traditional education program, curriculum alignment that starts with data analysis is necessary for colleges to keep student learning relevant to the competencies demanded by industry, as well as to establish stronger ties to employers.
Employers should provide workers with relocation vouchers to encourage geographic labor mobility. Since job churn spurred by technology and automation may reduce work in some areas and create it in others, reallocation vouchers enable workers to move to where the jobs are.
Employers should develop their own training programs, with a focus on building work-based learning models (apprenticeships). Local employers should be involved in developing these programs to ensure that curricula meet their needs. Employers should pay their apprentices and ideally employ program participants full-time upon graduation. Apprenticeships can both lower the cost of additional education and help employers develop a pipeline of future employees.
Employers should extend benefits frequently enjoyed by full-time employees to their part-time and contingent workers.These workers are often ineligible for many taxpayer-supported programs that are designed to provide them with basic protections on the job and in retirement, and they have limited prospects for career advancement. If workers were eligible for benefits on a prorated basis, the incentive for businesses to expand the use of contingent work would also be reduced or eliminated.
Employers need to be more transparent about what skills and knowledge they need in their future employees. Governments can assist in this effort by providing open, consistent standards for hiring announcements that would make the information easy to access and query, and easy for third-party providers to share through targeted applications. Achieving this goal will require close cooperation among governments, employers, and companies that offer online job listings or aggregate labor market data. This transparency and consistency will allow job seekers—including those pursuing educational and training opportunities—make more informed decisions.
Employers should ensure that their workers are getting decent wages, employment benefits, predictable scheduling, and training and advancement because this will lead to a more productive workforce.
Colleges and universities should partner with industry to help prepare their students for entering the workforce. Companies and universities can, for example, jointly design certificate programs that incorporate internships or apprenticeships with potential employers. Through these programs, employers can not only compete for talent but also develop the pipeline of talent they need to build their workforce.
Employers should more consistently recognize alternative forms of educational programs, such as micro-degrees, as valid training credentials. Alternative educational opportunities like micro-degrees in technology occupations can provide students with skills directly needed when joining the workforce with a smaller investment from students. Work-based learning programs can both lower the cost of additional education and help employers develop a pipeline of future employees.
Businesses should take measures to attract residents and businesses by investing in the development of walkable communities with live-work-play spaces. Mixed-use spaces attract economic activity and residents by placing residential developments, businesses, and recreation in close proximity.
Employers should provide new ways for workers to signal their skills and credentials across fields as jobs and industries change. Businesses can work with educational institutions as well as organizations like Credential Engine, Job Data Exchange, and T3 Network to rewire the current skill-signaling system toward transparency and integration, as well as build linkages across the data and tech infrastructure that underpins this new system. Cross-industry skills credentialing enables employees to communicate and demonstrate their skills and the applicability of those skills to future work.