Management and strategy are important in each sport and football is no exception. After the Superbowl last February, the timing seems right to start learning lessons from this emblematic sport. Here are 10 principles that may apply to Human Resources management.

1.Take Individual Differences Into Consideration

In football as in business, switching teams can happen on a regular basis. Therefore, it is important to consider each and every individual. A team has its own dynamics and it might take hours and hours of training to start seeing results. Similarly, human resources management requires a consideration of each employee in order to get them to work together effectively.


2.Build a Strategy

Before each football game, it is important to evaluate the defense, strengths and weaknesses of each team member, in order to adapt and to be able to face any moves from the opposite team. Having a strategic vision is also important for HR managers: they must know the skills of competitors … and try to create an even more powerful team!


3.Encourage Commitment

During a game, every move forward is a small step towards victory. A stepwise approach allows perseverance all along the game, by setting short and long term goals. In business, organizing regular meetings (to talk about employees’ performance, their integration and their well-being), as well as events like training or corporate events, helps maintaining the team’s engagement and the corporate culture.

4.Create A Team Spirit

The sense of belonging is important for team spirit. During a game, players who do not have possession of the ball must protect and help the player who has it to break through. It goes the same way in business: the HR manager has to encourage team cohesion, whether through conflict resolution or even by organizing corporate or training events.

5.Use The “Smash Mouth” Offense

This traditional football technique is essentially based on a strong running game and where most of the plays run by the offense are handoffs to the fullback or tailback. The Smash Mouth offense enables a slow but sure breakthrough, by controlling the clock. Again, this is a lesson to take. When it comes to recruitment, no need to rush. A stepwise process can help understanding the candidate’s profile and skills, and minimize recruitment mistakes.

6.Adapt to Unpredicted Events

Reactivity and adaptability (evolution score, remaining time, weather, injury …) are important attributes in football. Human resources also have to deal with unpredicted events. Good recruiters should be able to quickly adjust their strategy (new hires, improvement of the work environment, etc.) based on business and market developments. Any decision must aim to maintain the team’s stability.

7.Using Experience on The Field

On the field, experience improves intuition, reflexes and decision making to face the opposite team. Similarly, it is by recruiting over and over that a good HR manager learns! Developing good methods to understand both candidates and employees requires a long-term practice.

8.Build a Trusting Environment

Trust is often the key to success in football as in business, or even between staffing agencies and their clients. Let’s go back to the Superbowl semi-finals in 2015, when the Green Bay Packers were leading the Seahawks by 12 points; 3 minutes and 52 seconds before the end. Nothing predicted a victory for the Seahawks, but thanks to the determination and mutual trust between team members, they were able to win just a few minutes before the end. HR services are responsible for building a climate of trust within the team, which guarantees that even through difficult times, employees will stay united and determined.

9.Encourage Perseverance in Any Circumstances

The previous example shows us the necessity to persevere, even if the situation is alarming, both on the field and at work. Making mistakes is sometimes the best way to learn, before success happens. Human resources must ensure optimism and team motivation in all circumstances through continuous support.
Football Fan? You will no longer watch a game without learning from it!