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What does baseball have to do with employee assessment?

March 29, 2012

One of the top predictors of future success is past performance.  You’ll see no greater example of this than in the game of Baseball.  How does a player like Prince Fielder merit a contract of $214 million or how can Albert Pujols command $254 million for a 10-year deal?  The answer is simple - performance.  Both Fielder and Pujols have a track record of hitting homeruns, driving in runs and more importantly, helping their teams win games.

The same holds true for your company.  In most organizations, top performers merit the highest salaries.  But what if you’re a small company without deep pockets?  It doesn’t mean you can’t attract top talent, it just means you need to modify your approach.  

In the Oscar-nominated movie and bestselling book, Moneyball, which chronicles the story of Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane, a case is made for looking at players in a different light.  Instead of looking at the most obvious statistics such as homeruns, batting average and RBIs, Beane came up with a system of looking at players from a different perspective and essentially helped usher into baseball the Sabermetrics era.  Beane placed more stock in lesser used statistics such as

  • - on base percentage
  • - slugging percentage and
  • - batting average on balls in play

By using these statistics in the selection of players, Beane and the Athletics put together a team that competed with clubs having a payroll two to three times that of the Athletics.  This approach allowed Oakland to win the American League West title in 2002, 2003 and 2006. 

The approach used by Beane can be utilized by any organization.  Aside from performance, there are competencies that drive success in any position.  The key is to figure out what those competencies are and properly assess candidates based on those competencies.  For example, you may be looking for a sales representative to manage a large account.  Conventional wisdom says to look for a top performer who has held a similar role with another company.  But, what if you can’t afford the salary demanded by a superstar?  The answer is to figure out what competencies are responsible for driving success for this position, and then assess and hire to those competencies.  If you know the key areas to look for and have a proven methodology for assessing those competencies, the process is really quite simple.

At Select International, our goal is helping clients identify, assess and develop talent.   Whether you want to find the next Albert Pujols or simply want to field the best team available, Select International has a solution that will fit your needs and get you on your winning ways.  

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David Juristy David Juristy is Vice President of Sales, and the executive leader of PSI’s safety practice. He has used his background in Industrial Operations and military training in Quality & Safety compliance to work with many of today’s top companies to implement safety solutions.