Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Can HR learn about talent management from the NFL

What can HR learn from the NFL Draft?
While watching TV the other day, I was fixated on a program on the NFL network. The program which is called “NFL Combine” is a program that is based on bringing together prospective NFL players that consist of college students who have declared their intentions to turn pro. What I found so interesting from this was the intensive amount of drills that each athlete was put through. But more importantly, the amount of homework that each team had done in preperation for this “recruiting event” Every metric possible was measured:

  • Each team had developed a profile of their talent.
  • Each team had a wish list of the type of player needed and the position to make their team better performers.
  • They each knew what competencies were needed in a player that would be successful in their environment.
  • They each had a list of the key positions that they needed to fill, maybe not this season but surely in the next few seasons.
  • They each had their version of a job description and these assessments were designed to hopefully allow them to make the pick that was going to enable them to get closer to that gold ring called the Super Bowl.

As I watched this program my question was why are we as HR folks not as knowledgeable about our workforce as these teams are?

When we start our process of looking for talent, we need to think of numerous key elements:

  1. Do we “really” know the type of person that we are looking for?
  2. Have we considered where this position is headed and do we know the metrics (deliverables) that we need for this position to be successful?
  3. Does this talent plug an upcoming gap in this department or team?
  4. Have we considered the key positions in our company that we need to address?
  5. Have we thought about performance gaps in ever y department/team?
  6. What are our company goals and how is this position going to fit and make a difference?
  7. Does the job description really describe the job? Forget the quick review or update!!
  8. Does the job description describe the key deliverables or metrics one year out and beyond that will measure their success?
  9. Does our company have managers or coaches? (There is a difference)
  10. How are you going to develop those high potentials in key position once they arrive?
  11. What is the stick-rate of our new hires?
  12. Are we really hiring the best talent or are we just filling a position?

If we search for talent based on the wrong metrics, are we really surprised that in the end it does not work out? If we do not manage this talent properly once they arrive, they will not be successful. According to a recent Booz Allen Hamilton article in 2007, 40% of new leaders failed within the first 18 months. You do the math and you get the picture of the real cost at approximately 150% of salary.

While the NFL or any sport for that matter has not perfected this talent recruitment process, we can learn from them in so many ways. They take workforce planning to a new level and it is impressive the knowledge level that these teams have concerning their players, the amount of detail about each position, each department (offense/defense) and the team (company) overall.

What this program made me realize was that HR needs to carefully review the knowledge they have about their workforce, the level of talent that is needed to take their company to the next level, and mostly a thorough workforce planning model.

Although the NFL process is not perfect by a long shot they ultimately know exactly what they need in order to make their team reach the next level. They have thought it through.
My comment for this is like kids enduring a long car ride where, “Are we there yet?”

Now take a look at your department and ask that same question.

1 comment:

  1. You may be interested in this blog:

    Good luck & welcome to the blogosphere.