The Gig is Up!

We’ve failed work: companies should be responsible for job quality and employee engagement.

There’s been so much talk about the gig economy, yet new data suggests it just might be that, all talk. Back in 2005 when the Bureau of Labor Statistics measured the number of gig economy workers, it stood at 10.7 percent. Today it’s 10.1 percent.

In an interview with MarketplaceLarry Mishel, an economist from the Economic Policy Institute, brings focus back to the real problem at hand, wage stagnation and the “erosion of job quality.”

We should be looking to our business leaders, alongside government and philanthropic organizations, to help solve this problem. They have some responsibility for creating better quality jobs that pay more and provide better benefits for workers. 

Marc Benioff, the Saleforce co-founder and CEO, is a leader who seems to be focused on the right things. He has great things to say in this New York Time’s interview with David Gelles. Pulling out a few quotes:

I want a company where people are excited to come to work every day, where they feel good when they get here, where it doesn’t take from them, but it’s giving to them, it’s giving to others. Why do people want to be here? It’s not that we have more amenities than everybody else. We have less. We don’t have a cafeteria. But we have a stronger purpose and a stronger mission.

There’s a shift going on. When I went to U.S.C., it was all about maximizing value for shareholders. But we’re moving into a world of stakeholders. It’s not just about shareholders. Your employees are stakeholders, so are your customers, your partners, the communities that you’re in, the homeless that are nearby, your public schools. A company like ours can’t be successful in an unsuccessful economy or in an unsuccessful environment or where the school system doesn’t work. We have to take responsibility for all of those things.

Salesforce is the biggest tech company in San Francisco. We can unleash a power onto this city. All of these people can go into the public schools and volunteer, and they can work and make the city better. They can improve the state of the city, improve the state of the world. All I have to do is give them permission to do that.

As a C.E.O., if you’re not doing that in today’s world, you’re making a mistake. We are part of an integrated holistic system which is the global economy, and so Salesforce is part of that and we have to participate in that. Salesforce strongly believes that companies and C.E.O.s have to be activists.

There’s an opportunity for leaders to put more attention against making work engaging, motivating, and fulfilling for workers. Does the lack of productivity growth in the economy have more to do with the fact that companies don’t put enough attention against and don’t know how to motivate their employees? Employees are often thought of as disposable rather than as valuable assets. Dan Cable, a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School, in an interview with HBR Ideacast offers some insights on how to make work a more engaging experience.

Finally, companies can also create new business models that make workers the beneficiaries rather than the platform itself or the consumer. Take, for instance, Loconomics Cooperative, which is in the worker’s corner, while also providing value to the consumer.

As stated on their about page:

Loconomics empowers independent professionals with technology, shared ownership, and community. Whatever your specialty, we’ve created a networking and booking platform that puts you first.


The Economic Forecast: Help us transform our economy, business leaders, for the good of employees and the societies within which companies operate and rely upon for their own success. For a healthy ecosystem, the economy needs to be restructured to be beneficial for all stakeholders.


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