Cover Image: Workquake

Workquake

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Member Reviews

This is an excellent book about a really interesting work (business?) problem: How this Covid-19 pandemic will affect (if it will do) and, most importantly, how it should affect businesses, human resources practices, organizational models (culture, climate and structure) and a lot more of relevant matters.
 
Its recommendations are not only valid for people working in important/big companies but they are also relevant for freelance people (an important subject in actual gig economy) and for people looking for a new job (or for a first job!).
 
Steve Cadigan have a lot of experience that is open to share with all the readers of this book and do it in a easy to comprehend, with lot of insights that frequently makes you stop your reading and reflect about previous personal experiences and how to apply in your own case.
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Even thought this book was written pre-pandemic (with an update during the pandemic), Steve Cadigan's ideas are spot-on in terms of how organizations and employees need to understand and adapt rapidly to the new world of work.  If anything, these new ways of thinking about work and careers have accelerated given the coming tsunami of employees leaving their current employers if they insist on going back to the way we worked in the past.  He argues that the implicit contract between employees and employers is broken and that the only job security is our employability.  To stay employable, we need to embrace ambiguity, and to learn skills -- learn how we learn and stay open (not the specific skills we are learning because they will rapidly become obsolete).  The book is broken into sections with a part focused on employees and a part focused on organizations.  

Cadigan brings great experiences in his HR roles in many different companies as well as citing many articles and resources (there is a great list in the appendix).  This book is a quick read and made me what to dive deeper into some of the resources mentioned!

I highly recommend this book.  This book is relevant to individuals and organizational leaders.
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“The future of work is not about robots, AI and automation. The future of work is about being more human.” That’s Steve Cadigan in the opening of his book “Workquake: Embracing the Aftershocks of COVID-19to Create a Better Model of Working” due out on 3rd August.

Steve is a CEO who speaks ‘our’ language. By that I mean, he understands that employees aren’t going to work in the same company for ever, it shouldn’t be considered ‘disloyal’ to leave and that a learning mindset, both in and out of work is hugely beneficial for a company.

The book breaks neatly into two parts; “Employees” (be more human, learning mindset & managing your career) and “Employers” (new talent strategies, learning velocity & the new org) and he came to his views initially for the book during a job move when through an rather premature connection raid on future LinkedIn  colleagues, his activity was shared with existing connections and his current employer. Seeing the outdated expectations in this situation made him ask some pertinent questions.

Signed off in December 2020, he acknowledges that the world of work is changing fast and that he expects the book will need to be updated soon, but in its current form it offers great advice for improving your value as an employer and your values as an employer.
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Arguments are very well presented and author has a great perspective on the future of work.  A very good book especially for HR leaders and Senior Leadership who want to optimize their company's culture and provides a useful roadmap on how to navigate the new employer/employee relationships. This is what makes the material in this book unique  Author also highlights the value of professional networks.  I was compelled to reach out to author on LinkedIn to compliment him on his book and the content.  Also will recommend to my company's leadership and management.
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Interesting Yet Also Seemingly Retreading Well Known Ideas. I'm not exactly known for reading business type books - which is one reason I wanted to read this one, actually, as it sounded interesting even though it was in more of the "Big Idea for Business" type space. While I tend not to discuss my professional life too much in these reviews, it bears a mention in this particular one, so here's a very brief synopsis just to know my own background for my further commentary: I'm a mid career software developer that has mostly worked in local small-medium (500-2000 people) companies that were usually owned by a singular person, though I currently find myself as effectively a team lead working with various offshore teams and onshore contractors for a Fortune 50 company with approximately 200K+ people worldwide. I've had a couple of somewhat innovative breakthroughs, but for the most part I keep my head down and do whatever needs to be done in my current role.

So when I began reading Cadigan's commentary about the future of tech being less about individual skills and more about networking - alluding to what I call the "Flight Director Principle" based off "Iron Flight" Paul Dye's 2020 memoir Shuttle, Houston without ever getting even remotely close to actually naming it, much less naming it as I do here - eh... I can see it, and yet I also see in my own looking/ recruitments (in large part based on the very network Cadigan helped lead at one point) I also see quite a bit of employers - perhaps just in the areas/ jobs I'm looking? - still demanding specific technologies and specific amounts of experience with them. But perhaps Cardigan, presumably with a better sense of the pulse of business generally, has better insight there than I do as more of a grunt on the verge of being a low level leader.

Overall his ideas are certainly intriguing, and absolutely worth considering, one simply wonders, based on the text at hand, whether Cardigan is simply pushing change for change's sake and taking the safe bet that change is always inevitable, or if he truly has specific - unnamed - change strategies. Cardigan here emphasizes adaptability for both the employee and the employer, which while valid, is still a safe and typical recommendation - if you don't know the need to be adaptable, you're probably going to quickly find yourself stuck, on whichever side of the hiring process you find yourself.

And this is my argument that his central theses here are mostly retreads of well known ideas. At least in my own experience in this industry even at the levels I've seen it, most of this stuff is well known, even if the particular anecdotes and case studies he uses aren't always. And yet, this is still absolutely a worthy book to read and consider, because despite the well known general ideas, Cardigan does present a few scenarios and specifics that are interesting to consider and, I can say, many companies *need* to consider. Will the future of employment truly look as Cardigan forecasts here? We don't have enough data at this time to know. But as this is a fairly short book at less than 200 pages of actual narrative, the time investment here is minimal and the rewards could range from minimal to quite substantial - and thus the risk/reward calculation says you really lose more from not reading this book and losing out on some valuable insight than you lose in time if you don't really gain any new insight. Recommended.
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