HR Management: Building a Farm System

In the world of sports great teams win championships.HR Management: Building a Farm System image 274605 l srgb s gl 300x210HR Management: Building a Farm System

Sure there can be the debate teams like the New York Yankees or Miami Heat capture titles because they “buy” talent, but really even those teams don’t win every time. That is because the team that best uses its talents from top to bottom is ultimately the one that wins.

The analogy doesn’t change much in business. Companies with great talent that work as a team tend to see drastically better results than organizations with lesser talent, shaky cultures or a combination of the two.

While this seems obvious, I see so many organizations that miss this. They don’t make personnel significant enough portion of the strategy and outcomes end up suffering.

One of the biggest areas I see minimized in organization’s human resource plan is talent development—moreover the plan to develop talent from within rather than just hiring outside whenever a need arises. This is a mistake I for one have made and have seen happen time and time again.

As a sports fan, I call this a weak farm system. (For those that aren’t sports fans, every organization in major league baseball has a system of minor league teams focused on developing ball players.)

Likened to business, this is hiring an entry level person with the intention of them growing into an associate, management or even executive level position over time with the right nurturing, training and development. It is an ideal approach, but one that most companies do not do well.

In most cases it is because of time and money. (What else is new!) Developing talent through multiple ranks is time consuming and in some instances something the business leaders don’t know much about. Further that, time is money. Finding someone with the resume in tact is a shortcut to achieving great things.

However, consider this…

Those outside candidates will always be there, but wouldn’t it be ideal for your business if the talent waiting to be “called up?” Perhaps a strong sales person with good organization and leadership skills that can become a sales manager? Or a project manager with a track record for bringing in work on time and within budget to put into an operations management role?

Two ideal situations, but what about filling the roles of the newly escalated? That is exactly the purpose of having a solid farm system in your organization. The only way to escalate talent is to have talent to back fill.

This type of internal development is great for building strong companies with high morale since employees have a chance to grow within the organization both in their skill set and their professional position/financial reward.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge building this type of system is difficult. It takes careful hiring and a commitment to developing your teams. However, for any organization that has had to hire in short order or consistently has run into a talent shortage, there is a cost to that as well.

Build your farm system strong so you can feature your stars and selectively hire talent from the outside. That is where champions are made, in sports and in business.

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