As of last Thursday, professional football season is (finally!) officially upon us. While most of the focus has been on the players (such as the combination of players that will make the ultimate Fantasy Football team), the start of football season has us thinking more about the coaches.
When you get down to brass tacks, the structure of an NFL football team is pretty comparable to any organization. You’ve got your executives (owner, president/CEO, general manager), your manager-level employees (offensive/defensive coordinators, assistant coaches) and your employees (the players). While the relationships between each of these groups don’t always match up exactly with a traditional company, there are some striking similarities.
So where do HR professionals fit into this comparison? In our minds, the role of the HR professional, as varied as it is, most closely resembles that of the head coach.
Think about it: Often, HR professionals are tasked with communicating the business’ expectations of the executive team with the rest of the workforce, serving as a liaison of sorts to the other levels of the organization. The head coach of an NFL team typically reports to the GM or owner, but is ultimately responsible for coordinating the performance of the players. The HR director is often also considered the “face” of the organization when it comes to employee matters (at least to the employee population), even if they don’t, in fact, have ultimate control over personnel or policy issues, and NFL coaches are also easily the most likely members of a team to be seen as the “face” of the organization.
Regardless of whether you truly buy in to this comparison, we think there are a lot of things today’s up-and-coming and even more seasoned HR professionals can learn from their counterparts in the football world. Below, we’ve listed out what we think are the top four lessons HR pros can take from NFL football coaches:
How it applies to HR pros: The same principle holds true when it comes to a company’s recruitment and retention strategies. Star employees, those who are motivated, dedicated and talented, are rare and expensive to acquire. Instead of expending all your energy (and recruitment budget) going after the elusive star player, consider focusing your energy on putting together a deep bench of qualified, capable employees.
How it applies to HR pros: If you’re a smaller organization, you have to try two or three times as hard to recruit the most talented players than bigger companies, simply because you just don’t have the same name-recognition value. If you’re constantly competing and losing talent to larger employers, the key is to pinpoint what distinguishes your company from those bigger brands, and the value you bring to the table as a smaller organization.
How it applies to HR pros: Due to their unique ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their employees, HR professionals are often involved in the hiring and promotion processes. The practiced eye of an HR professional can often discern which junior account rep is ready to make the jump to a senior account rep, or recognize that the receptionist has a knack for marketing.
How it applies to HR pros: Ongoing feedback is essential when it comes to performance management. Real-time feedback gives employees the opportunity to adjust their performance to better align with their manager’s expectations.
No matter whether you’re a seasoned veteran with an established record like Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, or a bit newer to the job like Todd Bowles of the New York Jets, as an HR professional you can truly learn a lot from the way NFL coaches manage their teams. (Although we’d recommend avoiding the excessive yelling they’re also known for.)
As a leader in the human resources outsourcing industry, G&A Partners knows a thing or two about managing a team. With more than 85,000 employees from more than 750 client companies depending on us for top-notch HR and administrative services like payroll and employee benefits, our HR experts have the skills and experience companies need to grow and thrive.
Want to learn more about how you can add G&A Partners to your roster? Give us a call at 1-866-634-6713 or visit https://www.gnapartners.com/contact-us/ to schedule a free business consultation with a G&A Partners Business Advisor.