WHO

Can apply to all employees.

WHAT

A technique for creating job designs where it is expected that associates will be allocated to a series of projects over time instead of having a permanent job. 

WHY

Organisations are adapting to more flexible organisation structures and emerging market opportunities, which gives associates little security and sight of how they can pursue a career in the organisation.

A Tour of Duty is a technique to make this uncertainty explicit and at the same time motivate employees around the opportunities in flow to the work and create a more realistic trust relationship between associates and the associate’s supervisor.

This approach is also a more realistic way for an organisation to manage its people and a methodology to set the expectation that a company IS its talent, and hence the approach to attract and retain talent is to offer compelling opportunities – but also that the company is not the right fit for low performers.

HOW

Managers should develop Tours of Duty contracts similar to personal development plans, the main difference is that individual’s roles should be time limited, i.e. 12-48 months, and specify how the individual’s objectives and the company’s expectations are mutually beneficial. Further, a Tour of Duty contract should be made between the associates and the associate’s supervisor to establish a trust relationship.

The end of a Tour of Duty does not necessarily mean end of employment, but is a milestone for the individual and the company to reflect on where an individual’s skills are best utilised.

SOURCES

Tours of Duty: The New Employer-Employee Compact by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh

Reid Hoffman’s Future Workplace: Winners And Losers by Elaine Pofeldt

Hire for “Tours of Duty” instead of pretending jobs are forever by Stowe Boyd