series of escalators with mirrored sides
series of escalators with mirrored sides

A Point of View With Erica Sosna: Career Design and the Future-Focused Workplace

Joe Kornik, Director of Brand Publishing Editor-in-Chief of VISION by Protiviti

As the founder of Career Matters, a career design and leadership consultancy for CEOs at top companies like Amazon, HSBC and Mastercard, Erica Sosna has a point of view on the future of work. More importantly, she strongly advises her clients to have one too. Whether a company emerging from a forced remote model is considering embracing that model even more fully post-pandemic or is trying to reestablish an in-person workplace the way it used to be, CEOs must know what they want and why. Performance must remain the focus. For some employees, commuting takes away happiness and hurts performance; for others, the lack of face-to-face interaction is deflating and a hindrance to productivity.

In either case, CEOs must pay attention to the factors that create an optimal environment for productivity and base their decision on them. And if they want to see employees return to an “office,” they must design workspaces that will entice people back — that have the right vibe and the right purpose and may very well be different from the cubicles or open floor plans of yore. Luckily, she says, “developers are very interested in what you as a client organization might want or need” — a momentous opportunity not to be missed.

“Be in communication with the people who might construct that for you […] They want to be in that conversation — the landlord wants to be in conversation with you about how to make it right.”

The Career Equation

“This is your lifetime passing by; are you in the right fit?”

Sosna has deep insights on the problems she sees with people’s careers — problems that affect both employees and employers. Most people, she says — including her — “fell into their careers rather then choose them.” Nevertheless, most employees want a meaningful career path forward, but most employers fail to address that need on a very individual employee basis, regardless of broad-based career development programs in place.

“‘These 80,000 hours, this is how I define a successful use of them. Can I talk to you about that?’ That’s what people were telling their employers that they wanted to do for a long time previous to the pandemic.”

Sosna has developed a powerful formula for understanding how to maximize one’s career. She calls it “the career equation” — defined as skills plus passion plus impact — and she speaks passionately about how applying the formula can help both employees and companies find that synergetic career sweet spot that works for everyone.

To hear her elaborate on the career equation and its possibilities in her own words, as well as her predictions about where society might find itself 20 years from now, listen to the podcast.

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