I had seen Reid Hoffman in a Bloomberg West interview in October 2015 and decided to add this short book The Alliance to my reading list then. This is a short but powerful reminder of the way our working lives are going to change.
Short-term cycles in business require that companies be flexible. Hence they often treat employees as short term commodities. Loyalty is not rewarded anymore. This is a tricky game where no one will benefit because the employees will eventually not invest their energy into improving the business.
The solution is a new alliance: businesses must care about the careers of their employees and vice versa, employees must honour their commitment to the business.
In practice there are a few interesting suggestions on how to reach that goal, my takeaways when I read this book in October 2015 were as follows:
- only hire people I would want to work for
- ask at the start what job the candidates wants after he leaves the company, their aspirations, ambitions, interests, skills they would like to have improved over the course of their work, personal values (i.e.: list the qualities of people you admire, is a great interview question), ask about deep feelings and beliefs, proudest career moment, worst career moment, 5 life shaping experiences, the interviewer should always opens up first in order to build trust
- Arrange staff carreers in terms of tours: step 1, a rotational tours to allocate specific skills to needs, step 2 a transformational tour to develop adaptability and talent (i.e.: concerns 80% of the people in the silicon valley), step 3 a foundational tour, to build strong emotional commitment to the business for the very few next wave of board members
- encourage employees expand their networks outside the firm
- each employee must hire his/her replacement
The company that abides by these principles will attract the best talents. When investing, this matters a lot.