Chapter Corner

Free Agency

Posted in: Editor's Column, March 2013

If you have read previous "From the Editor's Desk" columns, then you know I love using sports analogies. As a former collegiate athlete and overall sports enthusiast, I truly believe that the lessons and values garnered from participating in sports can positively impact a person's professional career. My head coach at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Greg Walcavich (who recently retired after nearly 600 career wins), taught me many lessons about basketball. It was not until I graduated and entered the "real world" that I realized many of those lessons were applicable to my career and life in general.

To use another sports analogy, March marks the beginning of the 2013 NFL season. This is significant because the beginning of a new season means teams can officially sign free agents. General Managers and Head Coaches meet with the talented NFL players to try to find the players that not only possess top-flight ability, but also fit with their team's personality and scheme. There are numerous examples of major signings being unsuccessful because a player did not mesh with his teammates and coaches.

How does the free agency period relate to running a business? When there is a job-opening, it is important that the interviewer thinks like an NFL General Manager and not just hire the person who has the most talent - during the interview process consider how the candidate will fit with the company.

It is important that the new hire can acclimate to the way your company conducts business while also incorporating new ideas. They should have a similar work ethic and goals as the other workers. The skills and attributes of the new employees should complement those already on the team. A team that works well together can consistently compete against those who may have more talent.

When your free agency period approaches, that is a great time to assess your business needs. Was the previous employee a good fit, why or why not? What are you looking for in a new employee? I had to go through this process three years ago. The communications department at the National Office was comprised of our Production Manager Marlise Drischler and I. With two of the three positions in place, we needed someone with a keen editing eye, proven marketing skills, and knowledge of social media to round out the team; enter Laurie Montanus.

I often joke and call the department the "Dream Team," not because of our talent; it is our ability to work well together. The way we challenge each other not only improves the department but also the overall execution at IEC National. A key free agency signing, no matter the position, can have a major impact at a company. Montanus' hire was the equivalent to Peyton Manning signing with the Denver Broncos.

Hiring and other human resources decisions can make or break your business. In this issue, experts in the HR field provide excellent information on how to handle your human capital.

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