Art: Charter

Post-tenure professor, MIT Sloan School of Management; faculty member, MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research

Read the full list of Charter 30 honorees here, and learn more about Charter Pro here.

Kochan is a leading voice in employee and labor-management relations. He has argued for a new social contract between workers and organizations that allows all workers to thrive, as detailed in his 2021 book, Shaping the Future of Work: A Handbook for Action and a New Social Contract. In recent years, he has also identified a widening voice gap in American workplaces, which he describes as “the difference between what workers say they ought to have and what they experience on the job.” In addition to identifying larger trends across organizations, Kochan’s team has developed metrics and assessments that leaders can implement to empower employees within their own workplaces.

Right now, what is your biggest question or curiosity about the future of work?

The biggest question facing those curious about the future of work is whether the current upsurge in worker efforts to gain a stronger voice at work will turn out to be just a temporary flash in the pan or the beginning of a sustained trend to rebalance power and build a new more equitable and productive social contract at work.

What is one problem leaders should be focused on solving in the year ahead?

Business, labor, and government policy leaders need to find ways to bring workers’ voices into the development, design, and use of new AI technologies so these new tools both drive innovation in responsible ways and improve the quality of jobs and employment opportunities.

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