Five Reasons Why Talent Management Executives Should Watch March Madness!

March Madness

The 2015 NCAA basketball tournament (a.k.a. March Madness) officially starts today. And while many managers and HR leaders will be concerned with the potential drop in workforce productivity as fans and office pool participants are distracted by the games, there are actually significant similarities with talent management and college basketball that HR leaders should consider. Today’s leading talent management strategies and the technologies that support them, are changing how organizations are attracting, engaging and retaining their top talent, the same way coaching staffs are managing their teams to compete and succeed in this year’s NCAA tournament.

Here are 5 reasons why Talent Executives should watch (and enjoy) this year’s tournament.

Recruiting – today’s blue chip talent is recruited aggressively using a variety of modern techniques. Video of players has been used to evaluate athletes for years, and now today’s talent acquisition strategies also use video. Video questionnaires assist in the screening process, corporate background and job description videos provide insight and clarity on candidate expectations. 

Global sourcing & talent pools – similar to corporate talent acquisition executives, many of the top college basketball programs in the country have established strong talent pools where they consistently recruit from. In recent years, as the competition for the best high potential players has increased, teams have expanded their recruiting efforts overseas, and now many powerhouse teams include players from around the world. The best corporate recruiting strategies have adopted similar strategies, sourcing top talent from around the world. 

Employer (School) Branding – today’s leading basketball programs are recognized simply by a logo. They have tradition, reputation and perception that is established, protected and promoted. Today’s HR and talent acquisition executives have embraced and adopted a marketing approach and recognize the importance and impact of their brand in attracting and retaining talent. And as teams like Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Syracuse have expansive social media strategies with twitter accounts, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram pages, supporting their brand, corporate HR teams now have strong social media strategies to attract and engage candidates.

Leadership Development & Succession – there is no better example in all of college sports of leadership development than Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K). Coach K has been at Duke for 35 years and is one of the most successful head coaches in basketball history. One of the most overlooked aspects of coach K’s success is the number of former players and assistant coaches who have gone on to have incredibly successful careers themselves. Thirteen of Krzyzewski's players and assistant coaches have become head coaches at other school, including current coaches Tommy Amaker (Harvard),  Mike Brey (Notre Dame), Chris Collins (Northwestern), Johnny Dawkins (Stanford), Bobby Hurley (Buffalo), and Steve Wojciechowski  (Marquette). Additionally, Jeff Capel, Nate James, and Jon Scheyer—currently work under Krzyzewski as assistants at Duke. Duke basketball is a perfect example of outstanding Leadership development and succession planning.

Analytics – Big data and analytics has changed modern HR strategies, enabling data-driven decisions that support business initiatives. From hiring trends and high performer profile analysis, to time to hire, quality of hire, retention risks, pay for performance metrics and compensation ranges, practical and predictive analytics are now a foundational element of leading HR strategies. Similarly, leading college basketball programs are now using detailed player analytics to provide insights into recruiting, productivity and game strategies that provide a competitive advantages. And similar to HR teams hiring data experts and business analysts, college basketball teams like the University of Kentucky are now hiring analytics experts as well. 

Other Talent Management disciplines such as video-enabled learning, continuous feedback, rewards & recognition call also be directly tied to college basketball. So let the madness begin, enjoy the games and good luck in your office pool!

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