Every Labor Day weekend millions of people set aside time in their day to painstakingly select the perfect team roster. Draft rankings, stats, injuries, omens and even celebrity breakups are all intensely scrutinized to decide if a player is worthy of being on a fan fantasy league team. For the National Football League (NFL), the process is even more rigorous during the yearly NFL draft. Teams spend all year running tests, collecting data, and analyzing what they think they need to build a Super Bowl team. Imagine if the same amount of meticulous care was taken when a company makes a new hire? How much more success would organizations have if they took a play out of the NFL Playbook for talent management?
Understanding Your Current Team
A huge mistake companies often make when faced with a hiring need is looking outside of their organization first. Failing to understand the strengths of their current employees or not adopting a talent management strategy often discourages hiring from within. Insights on current employees allows companies to identify deficiencies and be better equipped to recognize qualities necessary to complete their team puzzle. Are you in a room full of creatives in need of a problem solver? Do you have too many drivers on your team and not enough team players? Blind hiring can lead to selecting the wrong candidates for the job, employee burnout, team misalignment and even turnover.
Any good coach knows that a deep understanding of your current team is the first step to a good season. Knowing what motivates your team members, how much oversight they require and what forms of feedback they respond best to ensures that you are getting the very best out of them. Failure to recognize the strengths and weaknesses in your organization before attempting to bring on new team members is a disservice to both your current team and those you chose to extend an offer to.
In the NFL, before the start of each season, the best talent is invited to the Combine. For four days that year’s top draft-eligible college players are tested on a variety of medical, mental and physical criteria. This serves as a reference for their abilities and arms teams with knowledge about strengths, areas for growth, and a solid development plan to help them succeed. Businesses could learn a thing or two from the thorough testing and development planning process of this 4-day event.
Imagine an onboarding process that includes a focus on areas of improvement. There would be no need to wait, and the talent development could start immediately. New hires would also be able to hit the ground running, joining projects that showcase their known skillsets.
Talent Management Like The NFL
The New England Patriots are widely regarded as one of the most successful franchises in the history of the National Football League (NFL), and with good reason. They have consistently proven themselves to be an excellent example of how to run an organization, both on and off the field. One of the most impressive aspects of their success is their ability to make what often appears to be unusual or puzzling personnel decisions that somehow always seem to work out in their favor.
The Patriots have a formula that has proven successful time and time again, and they have built a culture that allows them to identify and develop talent that other teams may overlook. While their approach may not always make sense to those outside of the organization, the results speak for themselves. The Patriots have won six Super Bowl championships under the leadership of their head coach, Bill Belichick and continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL.
The meticulous care that NFL teams put into selecting and developing their talent can serve as a model for organizations in other industries. Taking the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of current team members and implementing a thorough onboarding and development process can lead to a more successful organization. By adopting similar strategies, businesses can build a strong culture, identify and develop overlooked talent, and ultimately drive better results.
Just as a successful football team must have the right players in the right positions, a successful organization must have the right people with the right skills to achieve its goals.