December 26, 2018

AI, #MeToo and the New World of Work


Aaron Hurst

The conversation about work is changing - have you noticed? Ten years ago the conversation was focused on engagement, efficiency, and innovation. Now the tone has become much more, well, human.

About a decade ago, we had a series of breakthrough voices emerge that began to explore what actually defines success at work. Dr. Carol Dweck taught us about having a growth mindset. Dr. Adam Grant explored givers and takers in the workforce. Dr. Brene Brown taught us about the power of vulnerability. Dr. Britt Andreatta helped us understand the neuroscience of purpose work.

In 2015, Google released its study on high performing teams. It directed our attention to the importance of teams in contemporary work and to the foundation of all teams: psychological safety. They found that the dynamics of a team mattered more than the pedigree and previous performance of individual team members.

A confluence of these findings, Silicon Valley scandals, #MeToo, and political changes in our society brought attention to the concept of inclusion. It created a bridge for Diversity & Inclusion functions into critical path talent conversations.

Now, Yuval Noah Harari, Kai-Fu Lee, and Thomas Friedman have helped us understand the impact of AI on the future of work. The punchline, the work that is least likely to be replaced by AI is the work that is the most human.

In the industrial economy, machines became the model for the ideal employee: fast, consistent, and reliable. This intensified in the information economy exemplified in Silicon Valley. Now, we see that success going forward will be about being less robotic and more human.

Right now, employers and higher education are struggling to address these changes. How do we build an inclusive workplace? How do we increase psychological safety? How do we encourage generosity? How do we connect each person to their purpose? How do we cultivate a growth mindset? How do we optimize work for teams?

These questions are all critical, but the more important question gets to the root of all the change. What is the new organizing principle for work?


A human workplace is one that is optimized for personal fulfillment. It encourages a growth mindset and generosity. It is what neuroscience tells us matters. It is the foundation for inclusion and psychological safety. It is the benefit of working with a sense of purpose. It is what brings out our humanity and separates us from robots.

While the organization provides the right environment for a fulfilling employee experience, it’s the employees who shape how to make work more meaningful for themselves. Indeed, an astounding 82% of employees agree that it is primarily their own responsibility, and 42% say that they are their own greatest barrier to finding fulfillment at work.

Your employees are ready to own their own fulfillment and we're giving you all the necessary tools to support this in Imperative's newest research in partnership with PwC and CECP. Download the research here and make 2019 the year that employee fulfillment becomes a reality.

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