Workquake: Embracing the aftershocks of COVID-19 to create a better model of working, from the first Head of Human Resources at LinkedIn – Steve Cadigan

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From digital disruptions to global pandemics, we are witnessing a seismic shift in the employer-employee relationship across the board. 

If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that employees crave investment in the human aspects of work. A record number of employees are quitting or thinking about doing so. Organizations that take the time to learn why—and act thoughtfully—will have an edge in attracting and retaining talents.

This is what Steve Cadigan calls “Workquake”. What employers need and what employees want has evolved. However, according to Steve, we have yet to build a model and a contract that feels safe and inspirational to both parties.

Steve has been at the forefront of global talent strategy and company culture for the past 30 years. Most famous for scaling Linkedin from 400 to 4000 employees in 3.5 years, Steve also led the development of LinkedIn’s legendary company culture and was at the helm of the Talent function for its period of the highest growth and through their IPO.

Steve is a highly sought-after talent advisor to leaders and organizations across the globe. He advises a wide range of innovative organizations as well as some of Silicon Valley’s leading VC firms on a wide range of talent topics.

Steve speaks regularly to conferences and major Universities around the world and his amazing work in helping shape the unique culture at LinkedIn led Stanford University to build a graduate- level class around this ground-breaking work. 

Steve is frequently asked to appear on global TV and is a regular guest on Bloomberg West and CNBC, and he is also a regular contributor to Forbes. In 2020 Steve was recognized by PeopleHum as one of the top 200 Influencers in the world of Talent, and an article he published about interviewing was recognized by Human Resources Today as the #1 article of the year. 

The Workquake mission is to build a better, more honest, employer-employee relationship that works for the needs of today. Using real examples of people and companies, Steve lays out a mindset and strategies that will allow both employer and employee to move from a headspace of stress and languishing, under-fulfilment and disengagement … to one of growth and success.

This episode is an empowering conversation for those seeking to understand how to navigate careers and life in a rapidly changing world. Steve argues that being human has never been more critical, that we have more agency in applying our talents than at any other time in history and that we need to have more real and honest conversations about how to build a better model of the future of work, one in which both employers and employees feel safe and energized.



Here are a few highlights about Steve’s thoughts on the future of work:

  1. The new proposition might be to empower people to join your company so they get better for their future professional path, regardless of how long they stay
  2. Novelty provides energy
  3. Covid provides the greatest permission slip to be creative in how we lead companies and design the workplace
  4. The number of choices and transparency of options nowadays can keep some people stuck 
  5. Sometimes you need to take what is imperfect and make it better or perfect it 
  6. The alumni community can be a powerful lever for companies and an opportunity, especially in an era of social transparency 
  7. Why would anyone want to work for you is a defining question for companies – what is really different about your company, its purpose and the problem it solves? Your culture is one of the biggest part of your value proposition
  8. Trust and psychological safety are increasingly critical
  9. The skill of learning velocity is one of the most valuable – to learn, adapt, apply, unlearn. The base is curiosity – to be curious and dare to experiment … 
  10. Careers are experiments: there can be many things that light up. It is from one job to another that we get closer to learning about ourselves as well as the career and lifestyle that we want at different Careers are experiments: there can be many things that light us up. It is from one job to another that we get closer to learning about ourselves as well as the professional path and lifestyle that we want at different points in times


If you are ready to create a more intentional and regret-free life and career that unlocks your unique potential and lights you up, start here!

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