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A Perfect Fit: How a Winning Culture Creates a Winning Team

According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2017, 80% of talent acquisition leaders believe their employer brand has a noticeable impact on their ability to hire and retain great talent. Look no further than college sports for a prime example of this effect. College athletic recruiters build teams known for winning by leveraging an unrivaled brand to recruit top performers to their organization.

To learn more about how college athletic recruiters bring in all-star talent, we spoke with Annie Hanson, the University of Oklahoma (OU) assistant athletics director of recruiting strategy and administrative engagement, in an HR Break Room conversation.

College athletics and corporate recruiting are more alike than meets the eye

Similar to acquiring prospective candidates for your workforce, college athletic recruiters use a thorough process and methodology to enlist all-star players. According to Hanson, the OU football process begins with identifying potential talent before coaches evaluate their performance, conduct personality interviews and rank the candidates against each other using criteria reflecting the needs and values of the team. Lastly, OU football commits to creating a great experience for their recruits once they arrive on campus and enroll in classes.

Like college athletics, the recruiting process begins by identifying prospective fits whose individual values and goals align with the needs of the organization before evaluating their personality and culture fit. “HR is committed to creating an environment filled with top performers,” according to Paycom’s vice president of human resources, Jennifer Kraszewski. “Our goal is to develop and retain employees who will perform and be effective ambassadors of the organization’s brand.”

Be transparent about your employer brand

A key to drawing out all-star talent during the recruiting process is creating a memorable and attractive employer brand. The strongest employer brands are transparent and espouse the organization’s traits and values. Similar to high-performing all-star college athletes, today’s top workplace employees have high expectations and want to work for a winning team. It is up to the organization to remain competitive by meeting their expectations with an overall quality employee experience. HR should take care to promote benefits and values in their employer brand that they can confidently deliver.

To help ensure the employer brand is accurately communicated through hiring initiatives and tools like social media, it is critical for HR to work closely with recruiting and help create the message, values and benefits being discussed with prospective hires. If the expectations developed by the talent during recruiting and onboarding fall short, top performers are more likely to become disengaged, leave and contribute to the organization’s costly turnover.

Culture fit is just as essential as talent

Your potential all-star hires must meet the needs and culture of your organization; raw talent isn’t enough. In addition to having a strategic plan and clear business objectives, HR should focus on vetting candidates to determine whether they are a culture fit by defining their core values.

To reduce the likelihood of turnover, identify the most important needs before initiating the new hire. By taking the extra steps early to determine whether a candidate is a cultural fit, you help ensure they are happy in their position and decrease the financial risk turnover brings to your workplace.

Never stop recruiting

OU football does not stop recruiting once freshman orientation ends, but continues its efforts throughout the players’ tenure at the university. Similarly, a new hire’s onboarding process following recruiting does not end after the first week. To help employees remain engaged long after they begin their new role, HR should continue recruiting their existing talent pool by helping top performers develop new skills and creating opportunities for them to grow in their career.

Listen to our full episode with Hanson on episode 56 of the HR Break Room podcast, “A Perfect Fit: How a Winning Culture Creates a Winning Team.”