People Operations

What are Tours of Duty?

By January 25, 2016 No Comments

foundU understands that jobseekers are not always seeking long-term roles. Modern employees pride themselves on being agile and seeking the best opportunities.  The idea of ‘tours of duty’ was created by Reid Hoffman (co-founder LinkedIn) to address this new employee mind-set.


Employees work for a set-time (usually 2 – 5 years) and on completion, either continue a new contract (tour of duty) or look for other opportunities.  Hoffman also stresses that employees are welcome to return after completing a tour of duty with a different company.


Why Tours of Duty?


Long-term roles are deemed less viable with the rise of disruptive technology and emerging economies.  Positions are either being superseded by technology or replaced by cheaper, offshore workers. This creates a disillusioned employee or an employee who is willing to adapt and change to survive.


Staff that choose to adapt are constantly jumping ship to chase the best opportunity.  This leads to a fragmented workforce with little loyalty from employers and employees.  Tours of duty attempts to address this problem; perform well for a set time, give loyalty and in return the business will invest in you.




Tours of duty could be considered gamification on a large, long-term scale.  Work for set time, be rewarded along the way and then unlock the next stage.  This is a very effective form of employee management and something we have discussed previously.


Tours of duty create a sense of stability for both employee and employer.  While people may say that they ‘embrace change’ and are ‘change makers’ most staff are comfortable in a defined role with clear boundaries.  They know what to expect and how long to work for.


To properly see the benefits, it’s important to understand that tours of duty are an alliance.  Hoffman creates an ‘alliance contract’ to give to his staff.  It outlines expectations but also outlines what LinkedIn will do for them.  It is a two-way exchange where the employee expects to be looked after and given career development while in return works hard for the company.  Without the alliance mind-set, a tour of duty approach will fail.


This in turn creates loyalty and trust.  It’s important to remember that employers can’t really make their staff ask permission before seeking outside opportunities.  Hoffman asks in his alliance contract that staff simply talk to their managers first, before looking for other work.


The foundU Platform provides the perfect solution to create tours of duty for your casual staff.  The foundU Platform and candidate profiles exist in perpetuity.  A candidate can create a profile, leave and then return and update their profile at any time.

A client doesn’t need to perform exit paperwork or redo inductions if a candidate returns.  A candidate simply needs to update their profile and set their availability.  Once this is completed, they are ready to work.

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