3. Listen to your employees actively

Worker unions played a big role in helping cushion the negative impacts of factory automation over the past century. “Unionized workers were able to fight for a bigger share of the increased pie,” says Roose. We are starting to see this happen again, this time in technology workers, with the forming of unions at Alphabet and Kickstarter.

Glitch, a software company based out of New York, leads the way among the nascent technology labor unions. Recently, the employees and management of Glitch signed a collective bargaining agreement that focuses not on wages but standardizes the process for disciplinary actions on employees. Outspoken employees can help spotlight attention on just causes such as diversity, accessibility, and sustainability. Organizations that take a stand on such causes see direct business benefits apart from earning ample goodwill.`

4. Balance it with regulations

Part of the thrust for responsible behavior in the industry must come from external stimuli such as policies and regulations. For example, Roose says that the tax code in the U.S. currently incentivizes companies to replace people with machines. As a result, businesses end up paying higher taxes for labor than they do for capital goods such as server racks or software.

A research brief published by an MIT Task Force recommends equalizing the taxes levied on both capital and labor to neutralize this disparity. In addition, other ideas such as universal basic income (UBI) are being piloted across 40 cities in the United States to counter the impact of AI. It’s amply clear that AI needs to be regulated. Organizational leaders must come forward to shape the discourse by collaborating through participatory regulation.

Look back at history to prepare for the future

“To prepare your organization for the future, you must go back in time to study the previous waves of automation,” recommends Roose. “Technology-driven change is not new, and we aren’t starting from scratch today.”

As organizations embrace technology innovation to meet rising business demands, leaders must make responsible decisions by factoring in the interest of all stakeholders, including their employees. Leaders must speak openly with employees about what AI means for their jobs and how technology can augment their roles.

When automation makes roles redundant, leaders must communicate transparently, plan ahead for redeployment, and share how the organization can help employees with the transition. The key to making the switch into an AI-driven business is by earning your employees’ trust.