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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Maynard

Embracing the Age of the Employee: Reimagining Engagement in the Wake of OpenAI Drama & Labor Shifts


by Barbara Maynard, Co-CEO and Director of Visionary Strategy, AveNew Solutions


The landscape of employee engagement is shifting dynamically. We find ourselves in an era where the dynamics between employers and employees are evolving, marked by unprecedented changes such as the OpenAI drama and a surge in union formations and strikes across various industries. These occurrences are not merely isolated events but potent indicators of a larger paradigm shift—ushering us into what I believe is the 'age of the employee.'



Inc’ Rachel Barek’s article “The OpenAI Drama Shows We've Entered the Age of the Employee” highlights the pivotal transformation in the employment realm, asserting that organizations now stand at a juncture where rethinking and modernizing engagement strategies have become imperatives. As someone who has spent more than two decades engaging with employees from the union perspective, I resonate deeply with the urgent need for employers to adopt a more holistic approach toward employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being.


At AveNew Solutions, and through our innovative Awespira platform, we are fervently advocating for a revolutionary change in how employers perceive and interact with their workforce. Drawing from our extensive experience engaging and activating people, Awespira is not just another software solution; it’s a disruptive, data-driven platform designed to modernize and gamify engagement while fostering organizational affinity to nurture trust and deliver what individuals truly need.


Throughout my journey, from trading on the floor of the Pacific Stock Exchange to serving as Director of Budget and Finance for a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to spearheading communications and public relations strategies, my passion for effecting positive change has been unwavering. The diverse – and sometimes deeply unpleasant – experiences I’ve had, coupled with a deep commitment to community activism, have molded my belief that organizations thrive when they respect and engage their people.


My engagements in both local and global initiatives, whether building homes for homeless women and children in rural Mexico, adopting an infant from Kazakhstan, or organizing trips to support those facing extreme poverty and sexual violence in El Salvador, have shaped my philosophy. It’s a philosophy centered on guiding organizations toward impactful solutions that align with their core values and aspirations.


The essence of the 'age of the employee' lies not just in acknowledging the shifting power dynamics but in embracing it as an opportunity to create workplaces where employees feel valued, heard, and empowered. It’s about understanding that employee engagement goes beyond traditional metrics; it’s about fostering a culture that celebrates diversity, encourages innovation, and prioritizes the well-being of its workforce. And it’s about using the data gathered to continuously improve engagement on an individual and organization-wide level.


As an advocate for change and a staunch believer in the transformative power of technology, I stand at the intersection of experience and innovation, ready to guide organizations toward a future where engagement isn’t just a buzzword but a fundamental ethos.


In this era, organizations need to reassess their approaches, leverage modern tools, and embrace a new narrative of engagement—one that not only retains top talent and builds unity, but also nurtures a culture of inclusivity, collaboration, and continuous growth.


The 'age of the employee' isn’t merely a phase; it’s a revolution waiting to be embraced, and Awespira stands as a beacon guiding organizations toward a new era of engagement—one that’s truly transformative.

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