What the NBA Teaches Us About Acquiring and Training Top Talent
I have written and ranted much in the last six months about the alleged talent shortage in the U.S. workforce. I partly blame companies for not investing the money to train their current employees. You see, companies who complain about not being able to find talent are unwilling to spend the dollars to train their present employees to fill the roles for which they can find no one. They want instead for someone to meet every last qualification before bringing them into the fold, choosing to leave the position unfilled rather than spend money training an employee who might later depart and work for a competitor.
According to a survey of 494 adults conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand, only 35% of them said they had received training and development to better perform their role in the last six months. Can you imagine if 65% of the San Antonio Spurs had not received any training in the last six months? How many teams do you think they would beat? Sure, when the Denver Broncos drafted Peyton Manning they had a fully skilled quarterback capable of throwing TDs and winning games. This does not mean that special people, both doctors and coaches, weren’t hired to continue rehabilitation on his neck and to ensure he understood how to execute Denver’s style of offense. Everyone in professional sports receives training on an ongoing basis to keep their skills honed.
The Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers are organizations whose primary goal is to make money for their owners which are pretty much how things work at every organization. Now if the team does not perform well then customers, the fans, stop coming to see the team play. This in turns affects the owners’ wallets. Very similarly if your corporate team doesn’t play well, then your customers stop buying your product or service, which in turn affects the owners’ wallets.
How do the major sports franchises ensure that fans keep watching their teams play? Well first they try to acquire the best talent, either through the draft or free agency, just as an organization might try to secure top talent by using a recruiter or search firm. When that talent joins they then pay that talent what they are worth (and at times even more than what they are worth). They also train the talent. Yes, they know that the talent might leave and play for another team in the future but they also understand that if their team doesn’t practice and receive training right now to get better, they won’t beat many of the other team organizations. They understand the importance of training and winning.
Sports franchises recognize talent as an investment in their future and are willing to train and pay top dollar to ensure their future stays bright.
Not every corporate organization can say as much.