Just as water takes the shape of any container we pour it in, workplaces have also been adapting to become more fluid and accommodate the needs of employees and the business.
Since the dawn of time, people have been working. The need to fuel the human body led to farming and other jobs created over 10,000 years ago. As our primary way of making a living, work has played a vital role in society’s development. However, over time, the idea of work has changed, with young people now seeing it as more than a need in order to make ends meet.
But if work has been around for thousands of years, why the change of mindset now? In 1999, Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman coined the term “liquid modernity” to describe how constant change makes society — like any liquid — take a new form that breaks with ideas once set in stone. That’s where the “liquid workforce” comes in.
What is the "liquid workforce"?
Traditionally, work is understood as a cast-iron model of paid labour, with set hours and duties, and some people may spend their entire career in the same company. On the flip side, the emergence of technology has brought about a change in how we work together. While employees are attaching great importance to more geographic mobility, flexible hours and self-management, companies are embracing talent management to adapt to constant change and achieve targets in a model known as the "liquid workforce".
The three pillars of the liquid workforce
Whether we'd like a liquid workforce model for our own careers or to work at a company that's looking to implement one, we can determine if a workforce is “liquid” based on these three things:
How to be a “liquid” worker
Now we know a little more about the liquid workforce, we must consider these two things to make sure we get the most out of it: