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The Alliance: A Visual Summary
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The Alliance: A Visual Summary


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The employer-employee relationship is broken. Managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma: You can’t afford to offer lifetime employment. But you can’t build a lasting, innovative business when …

The employer-employee relationship is broken. Managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma: You can’t afford to offer lifetime employment. But you can’t build a lasting, innovative business when everyone acts like a free agent. The solution: Stop thinking of employees as family or free agents, and start thinking of them as allies on a tour of duty.

Co-authored by Reid Hoffman, founder/chairman of LinkedIn, and Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, The Alliance teaches managers how to recruit, manage, and retain the entrepreneurial employees your business needs to succeed in the networked age.

This deck is a visual summary of our book:

The "tour of duty" is the way you organize the Alliance at work. In this context, a tour of duty represents a commitment by employer and employee to a specific mission of finite duration. We see this approach as a way to incorporate some of the advantages from both lifetime employment and free agency. Like lifetime employment, the tour of duty allows employers and employees to build trust and mutual investment; like free agency, it preserves the flexibility that both employers and employees need to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

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  • 2. Imagine it’s your first day of work at a new company.
  • 3. Your manager greets you with warm enthusiasm…
  • 4. …welcomes you to “the family”...
  • 5. …and expresses his hope that you’ll be with the company for many years to come.
  • 6. You, meanwhile, express diehard loyalty to your new employer.
  • 7. But then the manager hands you off to the HR department…
  • 8. …where you learn that you are on a 90-day probation period.
  • 9. And after 90 days, you will be an “at will” employee who can be fired at any time.
  • 10. For any reason.
  • 11. Or for no reason at all.
  • 12. You just experienced the fundamental ! of modern employment. D I S C O N N E C T
  • 13. Companies expect employee loyalty WITHOUT committing job security or professional development.
  • 14. Employees say they’re loyal, but LEAVE the moment a better opportunity comes.
  • 15. The employer-employee relationship is based on a ! conversation. D I S H O N E S T
  • 16. As a result of this dishonesty, employers continually LOSE VALUABLE PEOPLE.
  • 17. Employees fail to fully invest in their current job because they’re scanning the marketplace for NEW OPPORTUNITIES.
  • 18. Managers, meanwhile, are CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE.
  • 19. NO ONE invests in the long-term relationship.
  • 20. This is why trust in the business world is NEAR AN ALL-TIME LOW.
  • 21. This is why, according to Gallup, 70% OF WORKERS IN AMERICA are not engaged in their work.
  • 22. A business without trust and loyalty is a business without long-term thinking.
  • 23. And a business that isn’t investing in tomorrow is a company already in the process of DYING.
  • 24. It’s time to REBUILD the employer-employee relationship.
  • 25. Employers, managers, and employees need a new ! ! where they make promises to each other they can keep. RELATIONSHIP F R A M E W O R K
  • 26. Which is why I coauthored this book.
  • 27. My name is Reid Hoffman, and I cofounded
  • 28. I’m going to show you what it takes to RECRUIT, MANAGE, AND RETAIN amazing people at your company.
  • 29. The rules for doing so have changed. Because the WORLD has changed.
  • 30. Today, companies can’t afford to offer LIFETIME EMPLOYMENT.
  • 31. Your company is not a family.
  • 32. Yet, at the same time, companies can’t innovate if everyone acts like a free agent.
  • 33. Stop thinking of employees as family or free agents… THE SOLUTION?
  • 34. Start thinking of employees as ALLIES on a TOUR OF DUTY.
  • 35. Start thinking of employees as ALLIES on a TOUR OF DUTY.
  • 36. Employment should be an ALLIANCE: • a mutually beneficial deal • with explicit terms • between independent players
  • 37. Employer and employee develop a relationship based on how they can ADD VALUE TO EACH OTHER.
  • 38. Employees invest in the COMPANY’S SUCCESS.
  • 39. The company invests in the EMPLOYEES’ MARKET VALUE.
  • 40. The result? A MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL ALLIANCE instead of a transactional relationship.
  • 41. Employer and employee can “risk” committing to each other over the long term to pursue bigger payoffs.
  • 42. So, how do you organize an alliance? ?
  • 43. Start thinking of employees as ALLIES on a TOUR OF DUTY.
  • 44. The phrase “TOUR OF DUTY” comes from the military, where it refers to a single deployment.
  • 45. Obviously, it’s unwise to run a business exactly like a military unit, especially in today’s world.
  • 46. But military and business tours of duty have one important thing in common…
  • 47. A focus on honorably accomplishing A SPECIFIC, FINITE MISSION.
  • 48. In business, a TOUR OF DUTY is an ethical commitment between employer and employee.
  • 49. It’s written down and agreed to by employee and manager.
  • 50. A tour of duty has a SPECIFIC MISSION with a REALISTIC TIME HORIZON.
  • 51. For example, “Ship this product in 18 months.”
  • 52. Be sure the tour of duty promises SPECIFIC CAREER BENEFITS for the employee.
  • 53. For example, “Over the next 18 months, you will develop excellent negotiation skills.”
  • 54. AVOID VAGUE PROMISES to employees like “You’ll get valuable experience.”
  • 55. Tours of duty reveal the CENTRAL PARADOX of employment in the networked age…
  • 56. Acknowledging that your employees might leave is how you build the relationship that convinces great people to STAY.
  • 57. The tour of duty framework helped me recruit and retain ALL-STAR TALENT at LinkedIn.
  • 58. I believe every employee at a company should be on a tour of duty.
  • 59. 3So there are three types of tours. Of course, employees and job roles vary.
  • 61. A ROTATIONAL tour is usually aimed at entry-level employees. For example, 2- to 4-year analyst programs.
  • 62. These explicit “on-ramps” transition employees from school to work or from one functional area to another.
  • 63. A FOUNDATIONAL tour: people whose lives are fundamentally intertwined with their companies.
  • 64. The company deeply informs the employee’s INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY. And the employee has become part of the company’s INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL CORE.
  • 65. A TRANSFORMATIONAL tour is personalized and negotiated one-on-one by you and your employee.
  • 66. The employee TRANSFORMS his career by enhancing his portfolio of skills and experiences.
  • 67. And the company is TRANSFORMED by the employee accomplishing a specific mission that improves the business.
  • 68. The tour of duty approach relieves the pressure on you and your employees alike because it builds trust incrementally.
  • 69. Everyone commits in smaller steps and the relationship deepens as each side proves itself.
  • 70. And the finite term of the tour of duty means there’s a SET TIME FRAME for discussing the 
 employee’s career.
  • 71. Both sides open about their goals. Both sides open about time horizons. Honest career conversations.
  • 72. HONEST CAREER CONVERSATIONS are necessary for rebuilding trust and loyalty with employees.
  • 73. Now, you may worry that the tour of duty framework might give employees “PERMISSION” TO LEAVE.
  • 74. But permission is NOT YOURS to give or withhold.
  • 75. Employees DON’T NEED YOUR PERMISSION to switch companies.
  • 76. And if you try to assert that they do, they will simply make the move BEHIND YOUR BACK.
  • 77. Want your employees to stick around and DO THEIR BEST WORK?
  • 78. Provide a structure for an employee to take on a series of personally MEANINGFUL MISSIONS.
  • 79. Tours of duty encourage your employees to build A LONG-TERM CAREER at your company.
  • 80. • Should an employee talk to me about 
 other job offers he’s receiving? • What’s the only way you can retain an entrepreneurial employee? • How do I align an employee’s values and 
 career aspirations with the company’s? • Should all employees be welcome 
  • 81. Get the book today ▸ An argument that we need a new way of doing business. And a blueprint for how to do it.