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When alliances are formed, both companies and employees grow

Written by Nuskha Semaun on 23 January 2018 for Companies

The Alliance: managing talent in the networked age – Reid Hoffman

Exellys is perfectly aware of the expectations of its young IT talents and the needs of the companies we work with. As firm believers of this strategy, we gave our clients a copy of The Alliance by Reid Hoffman as a Christmas gift. This is our way to show we are excited for the New Year and we hope we provided you with an interesting and inspiring read. Our best wishes for 2018!

When it comes to employment, a lot has changed over the past few years. New jobs are emerging, work hours and work places are becoming flexible and the relationship between employers and employees is evolving; from way back when they formed a lifelong family, over transactional relationships to today’s alliances. Many companies are working hard on rethinking and rebuilding their employer-employee relationship framework. Reid Hoffman, internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist and former co-founder of LinkedIn, published The Alliance, a book providing insight and a framework for the new model of employment.

When the company equalled family

In an era of stability, the old model of employment was a perfect fit. Being hired by a company meant guaranteed lifelong employment in exchange for loyal service. This resulted in the company and its employees having a family-like commitment. But in an era where change is the only constant, and adaptability and entrepreneurship are the most sought-after qualities in employees, loyal commitment without any guarantees in return is no longer viable. The current state is one of mistrust on both sides: companies cannot guarantee long-term employment and employees cannot guarantee long-term commitment. The time has come to courageously embrace the fact that uncertainty is the new reality, and to move towards a mutually beneficial alliance.

How to organize the alliance

In his book The Alliance, Hoffman used the term ‘Tour of Duty’ to describe a successful alliance between both parties. Tour of Duty is a military concept used to describe a single specific assignment or deployment. This concept can be used in the business scene as it focuses on committing to and accomplishing a specific, meaningful mission within a realistic timeframe. When applying the tour-of-duty strategy, companies embrace the possibility that the employee might leave, but they gain the certainty that at least they will engage themselves to the specific assignment. Acknowledging that the employee might leave is actually the best way to build trust, and thus develop the kind of relationship that convinces great people to stay. The employer-employee relationship becomes mutually beneficent as it is based on adding value towards each other’s goals. The employee contributes to the company’s growth and success, and the company endorses the employee’s market value by acquiring new skills. Be it for the long- or short-term, they form a trustworthy alliance.

3 types of Tour of Duty

Hoffman describes three types of Tour of Duty:


This one mostly applies to starters, giving them the opportunity to rotate within the company by completing various short-term assignments.


During this tour of duty, roots are formed and the employee becomes part of the company’s emotional and intellectual core.


These tours of duty require an active approach from the employee who wants to learn new skills and wants to strengthen his or her position within the professional network.

The successes of the above-mentioned tours of duty all depend on honest communication between the parties involved and clearly defined expectations. The manager has to speak openly about the investment the company is willing to make in the employee and what it expects in return. In turn, the employee has to be clear about the skills, experiences and professional growth he or she is after, and whether or not he or she is willing to commit for a predefined period of time.

the alliance

Execution and implementation of the tour-of-duty strategy

The above shows the value of a tour of duty, but as with everything, success comes down to implementation and execution. And the first key to implementing tours of duty effectively is alignment between the company and the employee.  And this is where Exellys can be of great help. As an expert in talent integration, Exellys already partly implements the tour-of-duty strategy when screening and coaching its IT talents and professionals.

Want to know more about the new model of employment? You can read all about it in The Alliance by Reid Hoffman.

Want to learn more about the Exellys way? Get in touch with us and we’ll gladly tell you all about the mutually beneficent alliances we could form.