How to Create an Alliance with Your Nonprofit Staff and Improve Retention

by Cameron Ripley  |   |  Company Culture  |  0 comments

2 min to read ✭  Learn how your nonprofit can use the three tours of duty method to recruit and retain employees. 

In this modern world, people no longer have legacy careers for 30+ years. Businesses must learn how to build trust and earn loyalty from their employees, but also realize that both parties can benefit when goals are laid out clearly and upfront. The Alliance, a book by Ben Casnocha, Chris Yeh, and Reid Hoffman, dives deeper into this, breaking down the types of employees at a company into three “tours of duty.”


What are the three tours of duty?

The first is a rotational tour of duty. This is a coordinator-type position that lasts for about one year where it is clearly laid out what the employee will get from this position, as well as what the company’s goals look like. If things go well, the company will evaluate what’s next at the end of that period.

The second is a transformational tour of duty which typically lasts two to five years. Examples include opening a new chapter in a community or running point on a brand-new program. You know exactly what you will be doing and how long it will take, plus what skills you will gain.

The third and final tour of duty is foundational. This could be a new executive director position or a board chair—a position having upwards of a ten-year commitment. Specific benefits and success outcomes are outlined so that the employee has an idea of what they will learn and the relationships they will make along the way.


How can you improve staff retention?

The alliance is a two-way relationship in which the company works together with the employee in pursuit of common goals. The same work that helps an employee build their brand and expand their own professional network can also benefit the company, making it mutually-beneficial. Creating this alliance from the start ultimately helps improve the retention of your nonprofit staff.


Looking for more? Find Six Book Recommendations For Nonprofit Marketers to Find Value In on our blog.

Cameron Ripley

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