Below is some of the extra content to supplement the book. Enjoy.
Tours Of Duty
How to structure tours of duty for different industries and function areas, and join the conversation about the framework.
We believe that all employees should be on tours of duty, but the specific type of tour will depend on the employee’s role.
Rotational tours are designed to provide scalability; their programmatic approach can be widely applied, even to blue collar workers.
Transformational tours are designed to provide adaptability; their personalized approach requires a greater investment of management time, but allows them to tackle key issues and initiatives.
Foundational tours are designed to provide continuity; their permanent approach helps codify the culture and institutional memory of the organization.
Whatever your industry, you can follow these guidelines to structure a tour of duty. For example, front line nurses are typically on a rotational tour of duty, since they represent the core of a hospital’s staff. The key is to figure out a standard mission that helps mutual trust and investment which can be scaled to cover hundreds of nurses.
If you are unclear about what kind of tour is appropriate for an employee, ask whether her role is designed primarily for scalability, adaptability (or innovation), or continuity.
How to earn the ‘Right of First Conversation’ and develop and expectation of honesty when dealing with employees.
If you want to forge a high-trust alliance with your workforce, take a page from a popular clause in founder employment agreements — the “Right Of First Refusal” (ROFR). When a founder wants to sell stock in the company and has an offer to purchase some or all of the shares, the company has the right to exercise its ROFR and buy the stock at the offered price. This compromise reassures the founder (or employee) that the company can’t block the sale of stock while allowing the company to make sure it isn’t saddled with investors it doesn’t want.
We believe that an equivalent compromise can help improve the employer-employee relationship: the “Right of First Conversation” (ROFC). If an employee decides she wants to explore other career options, she commits to talking with her current manager first, so that the company, if it so desires, has the opportunity to define a more appealing job or role. This doesn’t mean that the employee informs her manager every time she receives a call from a headhunter—this kind of disclosure would be onerous for both employee and manager. Rather, the employee should initiate a conversation when she is seriously considering alternate job offers or career paths. Similarly, the employee should also approach the manager if she felt strongly that her current tour of duty no longer fits, and that without a change, she would feel obligated to start looking for another employer.
Sample Statement of Alliance
In the back of the book, Reid, Ben and Chris provide a sample Statement of Alliance that you can use to define the terms of The Alliance in your own way in your organization. Download it now.
Articles of Note
How To Foster Innovation
Tech companies have to be able to hold their own against the forces of creative destruction. Dozens of ambitious, well funded, young companies are started every year, all of whom aim to create some new innovation by inventing a new product or building a product that is at least 25% better than incumbent products. Reid Hoffman suggests that you need at least a 10x product or one that clearly stands out.
Companies need to stay ahead of the curve. Being agile is crucial ingredient. Too much inertia in a company or companies that fail to iterate on their products are ripening themselves for disruption. Read more.
Interactive exercises for developing mission alignment with an employee
Activity 1: Mission and Values Alignment
Objective: Identify your top 3 career aspirations for the next 3-5 years and learn how they align (or don’t align) to your company’s mission and values.
Part 1: Identify top 3 career aspirations
Imagine your career in 3-5 years write down your top three career-related goals.
- What do you want to be doing?
- Where do you want to be?
- What are skills you want to grow?
- To whom do you want to be connected?
- What new experiences do you want to have?
Part 2: Align top 3 goals to your company’s mission and values
Ask yourself the following questions about how/if your aspirations align to your company’s mission and values.
Keep in mind that the objective isn’t to have 100% alignment. It is to get clarity about how/if your goals align.
- Which goals align and how?
- Which goals don’t align and why/how?
Next steps: Use your top 3 goals in Activity #2 to inform how you’d like to incorporate them into your next tour.
Activity 2: Your Next Play
Objective: Identify ways you can incorporate your career aspirations into your next tour of duty.
The purpose of this activity is to begin thinking about what steps you can take to realize your goals. These ideas can inform what your next tour could look like. The purpose is not to write an entire tour. By identifying clear ways you can integrate your goals in your next play, you lay the foundation for designing a tour that meets your goals.
Brainstorm all possible ways you could realize each goal.
In Activity #1, you identified your top 3 career goal. Now brainstorm and write down all the ways that you can fulfill each goal.
Ask yourself the following questions to begin identifying things you can do and ways you can achieve each goal.
- What steps do you need to take?
- What does success look like?
- What resources might you need?
- Who could help?
- What existing skills could you leverage?
- Are there any smaller steps that could be taken now?
- Are there any obstacles you’ll need to address?
Example goal: Get product design experience and skills
Example next steps:
- take a product design class
- attend a product design conference
- join a product design-related LinkedIn group
- Observe a product team’s design session
- Job shadow a product designer
- Consult with a product design expert or mentor
Next steps: Use the output of this activity to inform the conversation when designing a tour of duty.
Articles of Note
How To Manage Your Employees’ Happiness (Yes, You Can)
It’s absolutely true that it’s very difficult to get employees to trust you and open up if you haven’t had a trust relationship in place already…Historically employees feel they have to be very guarded around their manager and the company in general.
The solution? Bring them out slowly. Share your own values and aspirations. Share something personal, even if it’s merely who your favorite band is. And don’t expect to learn anything the first several times you’re speaking frankly. The truth is, most employees fear they’re getting fired, whenever a leader wants to speak privately with them. That’s why this type of trust-building takes time. It must be sincere and in-person. And it can’t be done with an app. Read more.
Join the conversation and learn how other companies help their employees engage the outside world
Both company and employee need to look outward toward the overall environment in which they operate, especially when it comes to networks. Companies have to understand the employee’s broader place in the industry, while the employee should realize that his professional network is one of the key assets that can boost his long- term career prospects. At the same time, as part of the employer-employee alliance, the employee ought to tap his own individual network to advance their employer’s business, because who he knows in the industry can be just as valuable to the company as what he knows in terms of skills. Growing their professional networks helps employees transform their career; employee networking helps the company transform itself.
Articles of Note
How to Write a Social Media Policy to Empower Employees
Crafting a social media policy that meets company and legal limitations, empowers employees and is short and sweet is quite an undertaking.
Managing its development requires listening to a number of contributors and distilling the important parts into a short, easily understood policy that reduces risk for the company and gives employees the freedom to support the company.
The new policy can be a rallying cry to help employees across the organization understand social media, increase activity and help create a more socially active company. Read more.
Learn how other companies build their alumni networks and join the conversation yourself.
Articles of Note
Do You Treat Your Employees Like Customers? CRM Starts with ERM
Marketing 101 applied to employees, but what does it mean for Employment Relationship Management? Well, just like CRM, ERM is concerned with creating dialogue ideally at a segment-of-one level to inform actions that impact loyalty and employee lifetime value. One very tangible example is the propensity for employees to recommend your organization and facilitate candidate referrals (member-get-member), cutting external recruitment costs and enhancing engagement via recruitment bonuses.A personalized or segmented application of all elements of the marketing mix will give your organization the edge in acquiring, retaining, growing, reactivating, and optimizing employee value. Read more.
Conscious Un-Company-ing: Creating a Successful Corporate Alumni Program
Increasing the possibility of rehiring former employees isn’t the only benefit to creating a corporate alumni program, however. If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your employment brand, increase the quality of your candidate referrals and generate new business ideas, you may want to consider creating an alumni program for former employees at your company. Read more.
Top Tips for Activating Your Alumni
Leading corporations and professional services firms are increasingly recognizing the value of implementing a comprehensive alumni relations program. As many HR departments are charged with the task of establishing their own programs and are focused on implementation, it is important to build interest in the program among divergent constituents. As with reaching out to any population with broad interests, alumni involvement requires a tailored marketing strategy. Read more.
Excelling at Corporate Alumni Relations
The best-in-class corporate alumni programs report significant results in recruiting and employee engagement. These metrics can apply to any recruiting initiative, and include performance ratings, promotion and total number of hires. Specifically, alumni programs in general, when done correctly, demonstrate the highest results in retention, performance and productivity. Read more.
Sample Statement Of Alliance
This statement of alliance provides a model for you to use when you’re defining a Transformational tour of duty with an employee. Customize the policies and programs (such as the budget for networking) to reflect the specific circumstances of the company and the team you lead. The statement of alliance should also be personalized with individual goals for the individual employee, but for the sake of fairness, the same general policies and principles should apply equally to all the members of the team.
“I” = the manager
“We” = manager and employee
“We the company” = the company
In a larger organization, the senior management and HR leadership of the firm should work to customize the alliance based on the company’s needs, but should still allow individual managers the leeway to adapt the alliance to their teams.
- I’m glad to have you on my team.
- I view our relationship as a mutual alliance that needs to help both of us.
- This statement of alliance lets us lay out both our expectations so that we can invest in the relationship and each other with confidence.
- I want you to help transform the company.
- In return, I and the company need to help you improve your market value and transform your career (preferably within this organization).
- While I am not making a commitment to offer lifetime employment, and you are not making a commitment to stay for your entire career, we will act to maintain a long-term alliance, even if the employment relationship ends.
Article 1: Your Tour of Duty
- Your tour of duty defines what you will do for me and the business; it also defines what the business and I will do for your career.
- While there is no legal obligation on you, me, or the company, and plans can always change, right now we all committed to completing this tour of duty on the basis of mutual trust. This means that if we’re progressing towards our mutual goals, the company won’t fire you, and you won’t leave.
- As we deepen our mutual investment and commitment, we may someday decide to make a long-term, Foundational commitment to each other.
- We the company expect this current tour of duty to encompass the time it takes for you to execute the following mission objective: ____________
- I expect this tour of duty will last approximately the following amount of time: ____________
- Here is what the results of a successful tour of duty look like for the company (product launches, process improvements, sales, etc.): ____________
- Here is what the results of a successful tour of duty look like for you (knowledge, skills, accomplishments, recognition, etc.): ____________
- As we approach the end of this tour of duty (approximately 12 months to go), you and I should discuss what you would like to do once the tour of duty is complete, either by defining a new tour of duty at the company or discussing your transition to a different company.
Article 2: Alignment
- You, I, and the company all have core aspirations and values.
- We will all work together to align as many aspirations and values as we can between the three parties involved, while understanding there will not be 100 percent overlap.
- I will lay out my core aspirations and values and what I believe are the company’s specific and rigorous core aspirations and values.
- We welcome your feedback and suggestions on those core aspirations and values.
- I would like to learn about your core aspirations and values, even where they differ from mine or those of the company. They are: ____________
- We will work together to set mutual expectations for your career trajectory
- We will recognize you for both your business accomplishments and your ability to exemplify the company’s aspirations and values.
- If gaps exist, we will address them explicitly and proactively, rather than ignoring them and letting them grow and damage our alliance.
Article 3: Network Intelligence
- Your professional network is a valuable asset, both for you and your career, and for me and the company.
- People, including those outside our company, are a critical source of information and insight for solving business challenges.
- The company and I will give you time to build and groom your network; in exchange, we ask that you use your network to help us achieve your mission objective and make the business successful.
- I will be clear about what constitutes nonpublic, nonsecret information you can share with your network.
- While this shouldn’t need to be explicit, you should feel free to use company equipment (e.g., your computer or smartphone) and company time for professional social networking so that you are discoverable and active on social media like LinkedIn and Twitter.
- You may expense any event, conference, or club membership up to X dollars, provided you think it will help you build your professional network. For larger amounts, ask me first, and I will try to approve as many of your requests as I can. You are responsible for sharing what you learn with me and your colleagues.
- You may use company facilities to host external groups and events.
Article 4: The Alumni Network
- Lifetime employment is over for most of us. But a valuable relationship should be lifetime.
- If and when you leave the company, if you’re in good standing, we will invite you to our corporate alumni network.
- The alliance between the company and you as an alum will remain consistent with the same principles: mutual trust, mutual investment, mutual benefit.
- As a current employee, feel free to tap the alumni network for help on solving current business challenges.
- The company and I commit to keeping you in the loop and up to date on what’s happening with the company, including consulting projects or new positions that might interest you.
- When the company or I think there’s a way for you to help us, we ask that you give us a fair hearing, though of course you can decline.
- The company will set up tools (e.g. mailing lists, groups, enterprise social networks) to help you tap the knowledge of our employees and corporate alumni.