Aspen Institute Business & Society Program Explores the Expanding Role of Worker Voice in New Report

August 24, 2021

From the push to raise the minimum wage to $15, to walkouts at big tech companies over contentious corporate policies, executives face a workforce eager to have a say in corporate decision-making. The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program offers fresh insights on corporate governance for this new era of work.


Contact: Keith Schumann
Communications Manager
The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program

New York, NY, August 24th Today, the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program releases A Seat at the Table: Worker Voice and the New Corporate Boardroom. The six briefs published in this report argue that worker voice is an asset to companies and that incorporating worker input inside corporate governance is an opportunity to enhance corporate decision making and accountability.

The report is the third release from the Idea Lab on Worker Voice in Corporate Governance, a collaborative research initiative convened by the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program to generate new ways to embed and amplify worker voice inside corporate decision making and accountability systems.

Organizations participating in the Idea Lab included the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, Common Future, Ford Foundation, Harvard University Worklife Program, Jobs with Justice, Liberation in a Generation, Long-Term Stock Exchange, Omidyar Network, Roosevelt Institute, Two Sigma Impact, United for Respect, Wachtell Lipton, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Previous releases from the Idea Lab include What Will It Take to Close the Executive-Worker Voice Gap and A Policy Foundation to Revive Worker Voice.

“Employees are the most direct bridge between a company and society. They identify new risks and opportunities, they invest labor, skill, and time in the success of the enterprise, and because they live in the communities in which businesses operate, they are critical drivers of the new norms around sustainability and social responsibility,” said Aspen Institute Business & Society Program Executive Director Judy Samuelson. Aspen Institute Business & Society Program Manager Miguel Padró added: “In recent years, employees speaking up in large numbers have driven some important changes to how companies address climate change, workplace safety, pay equity and many other operational issues. The report encourages boards to find better ways to structure worker voice inside companies because this new reality of business is here to stay.”

Among the questions the report seeks to answer:

  1. How can worker voice strengthen diversity of thought in the boardroom?
  2. What do CEOs and Directors who have experienced worker voice in the boardroom think about it?
  3. What can boards do now to better manage worker interests and concerns?
  4. What if corporate governance treated workers as a unique type of investor in a company?
  5. How might corporate governance be structured to be more consistent with America’s core democratic values?

The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program will be inviting interested parties to an upcoming webinar to discuss insights coming out of the Idea Lab on September 13, 2021 2:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada).


The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program (Aspen BSP), founded in 1998, works with business executives and scholars to align business decisions and investments with the long-term health of society—and the planet. Through carefully designed networks, working groups and focused dialogue, the Program identifies and inspires thought leaders and “intrapreneurs” to challenge conventional ideas about capitalism and markets, to test new measures of business success and to connect classroom theory and business practice. The Business and Society Program is most known for the First Movers Fellowship, for dialogue on curbing short-termism in business and capital markets, and for fresh thinking about the Purpose of the corporation. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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