Reid Hoffman, the Founder of LinkedIn, believes the employer/employee relationship starts off with “a dishonest conversation.”
From the employer’s side, Hoffman says, “The biggest lie is that the employment relationship is like family.”
From Hoffman’s perspective, “You don’t fire your kid because of bad grades.” So whether the employer knows it’s not really that close knit a relationship or whether the employer is deluding himself on this, that gets things off on the wrong foot.
Hoffman believes the employee also contributes to this less-than-honest bargain: “They know that employers want loyalty,” Hoffman says. “They know they want to hear, ‘Oh, I plan on working here for the rest of my career.’ But most employees recognize that career progression probably requires eventually moving to another company. But that never comes up.”
From the Amazon web site, here is a portion of the description of Reid Hoffman’s book “The Alliance, Managing Talent in the Networked Age”:
“The employer-employee relationship is broken, and managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma: the old model of guaranteed long-term employment no longer works in a business environment defined by continuous change, but neither does a system in which every employee acts like a free agent.
“The solution? Stop thinking of employees as either family or as free agents. Think of them instead as allies.
“As a manager you want your employees to help transform the company for the future. And your employees want the company to help transform their careers for the long term.”
Hoffman feels LindkenIn embodies this kind of new relationship, so after presenting the above basis for working together, the applicant is often asked:
“What’s the next job you would like to have post-LinkedIn?”
The question is not designed to trick the person. It is asked because LinkedIn feels they are going to have a very positive impact on the person and the person’s career and they are genuinely interested in where they’d like to go next.
Hmm. Interesting indeed.
Here are a few of my thoughts on this.
I’m not sure how many employers are pushing “we’re a family here” but I imagine a certain number are.
I’m thinking some actually do view and treat their staff as close to a family as you can get.
I also see how this could get a work relationship off on the wrong foot if the employer is pushing but doesn’t really believe in the “family” concept, and if the employee is making hollow promises to hang in there and be loyal to the end of time.
And I do like the concept of “ally” when it comes to the employer and employee relationship. Here’s an interesting definition of ally:
Someone who helps and supports you or something that helps you succeed in a difficult situation.
All in all, there’s everything right about people supporting each other especially when it comes to employers and employees and the impact they have on each other’s future.
Conclusion: If you’re able to have this kind of conversation with prospective employees, then asking what job they’d like next becomes a very intriguing question indeed.
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