Talent Development: Building Every Employee to be a Champion 

Professional football teams build franchises by drafting young talent from college or recruiting available professional talent via free agency. At the end of every season, most football fans and cities begin to anticipate and discuss potential new talent teams will bring in to pursue a championship. Fans start looking at the top college players and the best current professional players available to join their city and franchise. Coaches and administrators evaluate the teams’ strengths and weaknesses from the previous season to understand the positions of need and the specific skills and traits for each of these positions. 

There’s a lot of excitement and anticipation among players, franchises, fans, and current players. The draft and free agency process can launch or extend dozens of successful careers. Many players hope to play for a specific team, teams with an allure about them that draws them in. Fans hope their favorite players will end up on their favorite teams, and current players wonder who their new teammates will be. The organizations and franchises hope the young talent and a mixture of veteran talent will help build or sustain success for years. 

Attracting new talent to your organization should look similar. Draftees and free agents are potential employees, fans are that person’s family and friends, and current players are your tenured employees. Of course, hiring processes are not filled with pomp and circumstance, but employment is a two-way street—you hire an employee, and an employee hires you too. It would be best if you made them excited to want to work for you.  

There are three critical components to attracting talent, whether in sports or corporate. Potential employees have to:  

  1. Want to be on your team.  
  1. Accept your offer.  
  1. Want to live in your city.  

Make people want to be on your team.  

Clarity is essential—some people like surprises, but not when it comes to job hunting. Sports Franchises understand their talent needs, and the skills and traits for each position are clearly defined. The salaries for each position reflect performance and tenure. Athletes understand how their performance can lead to a higher wage, and franchises understand that if the athletes perform at a high level, they must be compensated; if not, a competitor can hire them. 

A second component is just as vital as finding the right people. Like athletic recruiters, companies must be specific about their target candidates. Quality over quantity is the name of the game. Intentionality in recruiting efforts helps find people genuinely interested in the prospective role.  

Encourage people to accept your offer.  

Once you’ve received and filtered through applications, you’ve probably narrowed your pool down. You will likely have a couple of rounds of interviews after that and will have drained the pool down to a handful. But it’s crucial during this process that you don’t drain your candidates. You should make the process as smooth and expeditious as possible to prevent talent from taking an offer from another company or becoming exhausted.  

A sports team, much like a company, is much more than the name. There is character, spirit, and culture in that brand, backed by a group of people working together to be world-class and annihilate obstacles to achieve essential goals. Pay and benefits are critical components candidates evaluate before taking a job, but ensuring people know that they and their work is valued is just as important.  

Make people want to live in your city.  

Though we may only see employees at work, we all know we have our own lives outside the office and the arena. Location is a key but often overlooked determinant of well-being and satisfaction. Happy people do great work, and no matter how stellar your pay, benefits, and atmosphere are, they will understandably go elsewhere if someone isn’t happy where they are.  

Describe what it’s like to live in your city, especially if someone is relocating for a position. Someone packing up and moving on account of a company is a massive deal, and hiring parties should make that transition as easy as possible. Offer incentives like reimbursement of moving expenses, a signing bonus, and maybe a membership to a local gym or coworking space. For those of us based in Indianapolis, we can steer potential employees to free resources like Life in Indy and Downtown Indianapolis that explain the benefits of being a Hoosier and help new Hoosiers plug into our region and unique neighborhoods.  

When companies take a more humanistic approach to talent attraction, as sports teams do, you’ll end up with talented, hardworking people who will positively impact your organization and the communities they live. Show your employees that you care about them on day one, and you’ll end up with impressive first-round picks.  

If you are not a Business Equity for Indy member and want to promote positive change in the workplace and the community, join us.  

Blog authored by Emil Ekiyor, Founder & CEO,
InnoPower Indy Inc.

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