Rebuilding The Employee Relationship For Today’s Networked World

The employee relationship is broken, leaving managers with a seemingly impossible dilemma: You can’t afford to treat employees like family (which they never were). But you can’t build a lasting, innovative business when every employee acts like a free agent.

High-tech companies in Silicon Valley have found a way around this dilemma, but their solution applies to any industry. The answer is to stop thinking of employees as family or free agents, and start thinking of them as allies.

The alliance is a two-way relationship that lets company and employee work together toward common goals, even when some of their interests differ. The paradox is that recognizing an employee’s independence is what allows a company to rebuild the loyalty and trust that’s been missing from today’s employment relationship.

More importantly, by offering their employees the opportunity to transform their careers, companies can attract and retain the entrepreneurial talent they need to drive Silicon Valley-style innovation.

You only have to spend a few minutes with Reid to understand why he is such a successful manager. He’s thoughtful, honest, and has a clear vision for where he wants to go, in everything he does. The Alliance provides detailed guidance on how managers can actually implement the best management practices from Silicon Valley. The advice is as useful for a Fortune 100 CEO as it is for a startup founder working out of a garage--as insightful for someone developing a new app as it is for someone opening a new coffeeshop."   - Read the full review.
Eric Schmidt
Author of The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses and Our Lives

What You’ll Learn In This Book

This book is a practical guide to implementing The Alliance at your company, including concrete examples and action items for individual managers and CEOs that will allow you to transform the relationship you have with your talent. We’ll teach you:

  • How to build trust and earn loyalty from your employees even though you can’t guarantee lifetime employment.
  • How to actively manage employees who seek constant career growth by defining tours of duty.
  • How to recruit and retain the entrepreneurial, innovative employees who might hold different ultimate goals than you.
  • How to empower your employees to build their personal brands and expand their professional networks — which help their long-term careers — while also ensuring those activities benefit your company.
  • How to run an effective corporate alumni network to maintain a positive, mutually-beneficial relationship with everyone who honorably completed a tour of duty at your company.

The Tour Of Duty Structure

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.

This approach can relieve the pressure on you and your employees alike because it builds trust incrementally. Everyone commits in smaller steps and, as with any kind of meaningful relationship, the relationship deepens as each side proves themselves to each other. The tour of duty is a way of organizing the alliance to reflect these increments.

By recasting careers at your company as a series of successive tours of duty, you can better attract and retain entrepreneurial employees. When recruiting top talent, offering a clear tour of duty with specific benefits and success outcomes beats vague promises like “you’ll get valuable experience.” Defining an attractive tour of duty lets you point to concrete ways that it will enhance the employee’s personal brand—while he’s at the company and if and when he works elsewhere—by integrating a specific mission, picking up real skills, building new relationships, and so on.

There are three distinct kinds of tours of duty: Rotational, Transformational, and Foundational. In the book, you’ll learn which kind is right for which employees.

The Alliance clearly defines many of the new models for work needed in today's business. Tours of duty, network intelligence, and alumni networks are powerful ways companies can learn to better attract high performers, grow their business, and model HR for the future. These are principles which apply to every company, regardless of size, age, and maturity.
Josh Bersin
Principal / Bersin by Deloitte

Check Out The Visual Summary Of The Alliance

Co-founder and Chairman of LinkedIn

Entrepreneur and Author

Writer and Investor