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Raina Writes: How LinkedIn builds employee loyalty

Posted: 
16/5/2024

As employers, we often carry the weight of the world on our shoulders.

So, it’s amazing how fragile the answer to that question can be.

An unexpected win (like a new client) and we’re on cloud nine. An unexpected problem (like an employee resignation) and we’re losing sleep.

That’s why I wanted to share a brilliant concept I heard about a while back from the team at LinkedIn.

What are LinkedIn's Tours of Duty?

As covered in Reid Hoffman's book The Alliance, LinkedIn makes an agreement with employees over a set period of time (e.g. two years) which it calls ‘Tours of Duty’.

During these Tours, the employee agrees to meet specific outputs or goals that contribute to the company’s ambitions (for example, delivering new projects or project milestones).

During the same period, managers agree to meet specific outputs or goals that contribute to the employee’s ambitions (e.g. training, introductions, opportunities, etc.).

In other words, it’s a mutually-beneficial partnership that moves both parties towards what they want.

Interviews & progress check-ins

During interviews, LinkedIn hiring managers will often ask candidates “Where do you want to work when you leave LinkedIn?” – a bolder, better alternative to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” in my opinion.

They encourage honesty. So if someone says they want to work for Apple or Facebook down the line, that’s ok. The company actively works to help the employee achieve that ambition on the understanding the employee works hard to do the same for LinkedIn.

Both parties discuss progress at regular intervals – replacing the one-sided performance review. And if either side isn’t delivering on their side of the alliance, it’s addressed quickly.

As Tours near their end, they meet to talk about what happens next, whether it’s starting a new tour or parting ways. In short, there are no hidden surprises.

The loyalty bonus

Here’s my favourite bit: this alliance builds trust and loyalty.

Employees might well leave the company when the time is right, but who doesn’t want to work for a company that has their best interests at heart?

Overall, I love that it’s a grown-up approach. Neither party assumes the other is happy with how things are progressing. So nobody gets blindsided by a crisis meeting or resignation down the line. Everything is dealt with in the open – honestly and proactively.

So what do you think? Could Tours of Duty work in your company?

Raina

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