This coming weekend, the Super Bowl is going to be played. The two best teams in the National Football League are going to battle one another, and the winner will be declared the best team in the entire league.
In fact, they’ll largely be considered the best team in the entire world.
How much time, energy, effort, and money do you think the front office spent in assembling the team? Since some of you are fans of the two teams playing this weekend, you probably know exactly what the front office of each team has done to reach this point.
I bring this up not only because the Super Bowl is being played, but because I recently had a candid conversation with a candidate.
Talent: the key to winning
I interviewed somebody who had worked in management. I asked him why he left his last position.
He said one of the reasons he left was the way the company for which he worked recruited talent. His only resource for recruiting was himself and a job board.
According to this candidate, his employer would not allow him to spend much money at all on recruiting and would not allow him to use recruitment firms. He felt this was short sighted and said the people he was able to hire were inferior to the people at other companies where he’s worked.
This candidate spoke about the importance of hiring the best people in order for the company to have an advantage in the marketplace. He felt that companies who did not invest in resources to get the best talent on board were going to lose to companies that had better talent.
The bottom line is that you win with the best talent. If you can’t hire the best talent (or aren’t allowed to hire it), then you aren’t going to win. You might win a few games here and there, like some teams in the NFL, but you won’t go to the Super Bowl. Unless you buy a ticket.
The epitome of a lose-lose situation
This case study raises a number of issues, all of them concerning for the employer involved. I’ve broken those issues down into the following observations:
#1—The organization is not hiring the best talent.
Yes, this one is obvious. It’s also the bottom line. In order to not only compete, but also to win, a company must hire the top talent in the marketplace. Talent makes all the difference in the world. True, hard work and desire definitely play their roles, but talent is the game-changer. There are simply some people who can do what other people can not do. That’s why you hire them.
#2—The organization does NOT want to do what is necessary to hire the best talent.
This is the frustrating part, certainly for the candidate who I interviewed. This person was a manager of a department. He was not a recruiter, nor was he a member of the Human Resources Department. Regardless, he was tasked with both finding and recruiting the best people all at the same time while doing his day job, which was leading a department. He had a minimum of additional resources, consisting of a job board and a modest budget. Those are not the ingredients necessary to recruit and hire great employees, at least that is what he said to me.
#3—The organization lost one of its best employees because it didn’t want to do what was necessary.
Not only did the company not hire the best candidates, but it also lost one of its best employees! That’s the epitome of a lose-lose situation! This manager wanted to help his employer succeed. He had a desire to do the right things in order to add quality people, so that the company would become more productive and ultimately more profitable. He said that the people he was able to hire were inferior to the people with whom he worked at other organizations! And despite that, his employer did nothing to improve the situation. And that’s why he left.
#4—The organization is falling further and further behind its competition.
The company can’t hire top talent because it won’t do what is necessary to hire that talent. In addition, it’s losing the bright, talented employees that it already has. All of this adds up to some very bad things for this company. If they can’t hire talent and they’re losing talent, then how can they possibly compete with the other organizations in their space? They can’t, at least not very well. It’s a path that is ultimately unsustainable.
The “gold standard” vs. “tanking”
Professional sports teams sometimes do what is called “tanking.” This happens when they have no chance of making the playoffs, much less qualifying for the championship game. They do this because losing actually improves their standing in the draft for the following year. The more games they lose, the better their draft position becomes.
What this organization was doing in terms of its hiring practices had all the earmarks of a “tanking situation.” However, there is no draft in the employment marketplace. You don’t get the number-one overall selection in the employment draft. So the very last thing you want to be doing as an organization is “tanking” when it comes to recruiting and hiring talent.
The two teams playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday have not done any “tanking” during the past 12 months. In fact, one of the teams, New England, has proven to be a shining example of talent acquisition and management during the past 15 years. With seven Super Bowl appearances during those 15 years, the Patriots have firmly established themselves as the “gold standard” of operational and organizational development.
Is your company like the New England Patriots, acquiring top talent year after year? Or is your company more like the one my candidate described, not willing to invest in the future by doing what was necessary to hire the best talent in the marketplace?
In other words, are you a Super Bowl organization . . . or are you “tanking”?
We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of organizations. If this is something you would like to explore further, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.