Dreams Never End...

by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, July 2, 2009

Having just returned from the 2009 SHRM Annual Conference in New Orleans, I will have a few blog posts in the upcoming days highlighting my thoughts from the 5 days in NOLA. However, I will start off my inaugural post discussing an event that just preceded the SHRM Conference - the NBA draft.

With a background in HRM, I find the NBA and NFL drafts to be quite fascinating. As a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks (ugh!) and the Green Bay Packers, I have a vested interest in how "my team" selects its future employees. In almost no other industry does an employer have the opportunity to measure and assess a future hire quite like a major sports team. Players are poked and prodded through a variety of mental and physical tests. General Managers pore through hundreds of hours of game tape (can one imagine Proctor and Gamble calling Pfizer for performance footage?). Family, friends, colleagues, coaches, peers are all interviewed. Virtually anything measured can and will be measured.

One should expect, given this background, that the success rate of the draft should be incredibly high, particularly given the amount of money involved with such a choice. Every top 5 pick should be an All-Pro or All-Star selection, right? Yet, history is littered with misses - Tony Mandarich, Ryan Leaf, Michael Olowakandi, Joe Smith, Alex Smith, Tim Couch, just to name a few. Similarly, future all-stars are repeatedly passed over (Terrell Davis - 7th round pick, Mike Piazza - 62nd round, Kurt Warner - undrafted)

One study has found that heavier players do not help NFL teams win more. Another study shows that the NFL combine has no correlation with NFL success.

Is this an opportunity for SHRM to enter the fray and assist these general managers with their hiring decisions? If the NFL and NBA can't get it right, what hope do HR Managers have with much less information at their fingertips?

4 comments

Ah, you're in my wheelhouse. SHRM did help out the NHL on making selections. The problem is in the NFL, they're are many random factors: personality, coaching, atmosphere, pressure, injuries. Those are very hard to determine.

For the NBA, you just have to luckily suck to be in the draft next year if the talent is there, a la Spurs with David Robinson and Tim Duncan. The stars will always shine, but it's the other picks that make a good team with a superstar a great team.

I'm with you that SHRM need to get involved with leagues and teams. In my town in D.C., we need someone to tell Dan Snyder to get a GM.

By the way, welcome to the blogging world.

by thispersonstinks on July 2, 2009 at 4:04 PM. #

You had to lead with Mandarich? You couldn't put Marinovich or Bosworth in front of him?

by David on July 2, 2009 at 4:19 PM. #

@this person stinks: What did SHRM do to help the NHL? IS there somewhere I can read about it? Thanks for the support.

@David: As a Spartan and Packer fan, the Mandarich pick is particularly painful, given that the Pack passed up Barry Sanders to take Mandarich. One could only imagine what a Favre/Sanders combo might have done.

by akaBruno on July 3, 2009 at 7:25 AM. #

Here's the article:
http://www.shrm.org/about/foundation/research/Documents/Developing%20Lead%20Talent-%20FINAL.pdf

Page 51 or search nhl

by thispersonstinks on July 3, 2009 at 9:05 PM. #

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