Corporate America has found it difficult to get people back to work after the pandemic. But talent shortages, especially in fields like tech that drive the economy, were a problem even before the pandemic. Steve Cadigan’s compelling book Workquake explains why.
Cadigan posits that the pace of technological change makes employees’ skills obsolete in less than five years, particularly in fields that depend on knowledge-work. Future skill-sets are so uncertain that older employment models that emphasized regularity and employee retention are no longer relevant.
Cadigan offers a new model for this uncertain future. Employees need to realize that stability and loyalty to a company are yesterday’s virtues. Today’s employees should expect to change jobs frequently, allowing them to gain knowledge of different parts of an enterprise and different business models, all while building their own network. Employees must operate as entrepreneurs, marketing an ever-changing array of skills to a series of employers.
For their part, employers need to understand that people value experiences that increase their skills, making them even more employable in the future. Savvy employers must become more flexible and invest in employees as people, giving them the learning experiences they crave. In return, employees who grow and then go build the company’s network; these alumni add tremendous value to their former company’s social capital.
Cadigan makes his case with helpful examples, from college basketball to blue chip companies like Target to his own career. He adds a personal touch by describing not only the successes but also the pitfalls he failed to avoid. With a minimum of jargon, Workquake reads crisply and follows the time-honored rhetorical structure, “tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; tell them what you told them.”
HR executives and C-Level managers looking ahead, as well as ambitious employees, will find this a highly valuable resource—one that provides a clear, concise guide to the uncertain work world so many must learn to navigate.