What HR can Learn From Sport

HR sport

HR sport

Mike Friday, one of the world’s most reputed rugby coaches, has actively used his experience in professional sport to develop the same team spirit in business. He has always been of the opinion that the sports arena is the perfect exemplar of team-work in action.

The way in which a group of sportspeople play together to achieve a common goal can be truly inspiring. Every member has a defined role and yet they form a part of an inseparable whole. It’s attitude and mentality that count as much as physical prowess; and that’s what makes sport a wonderful educator.

There’s a lot that HR can learn from this example in team building. Mike Friday, (Bounce Life’s co-founder), suggests 5 main features that HR can borrow from sport to make success a way of life in their organisation.

Applause for good performance – not just the goal

A player who has attempted a great shot or displayed outstanding spirit earns respect from the team and the supporters. It’s important to appreciate good performance regardless of whether or not it results in a win. This attitude helps to boost employee morale and pave the way for future successes.

It’s the team that wins

The entire team huddles together to celebrate a goal and it’s not just the one individual that gets the credit. The role played by every member – on and off the field – is acknowledged; and success is attributed to the team as a whole. Building positive relationships at the workplace is a key job of HR, and celebrating successes together is a great way to achieve that.

Performance management

Sports managers are fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of every player and maintain a detailed record and analysis of all data related to their performance. These metrics provide valuable insights when it comes to devising game plans, coaching, giving feedback to individual team members or even while recruiting new talent. HR professionals need to emulate the way sports analysts evaluate the game right down to the micro level. Having in place an effective performance management system can raise the overall success rate several notches higher.


Sports coaches conduct meetings after every game to discuss in detail what worked and what did not. They offer guidance to the team by tactfully letting them know their mistakes and the areas they need to focus on in order to improve their performance in the next game. The communication channels are open, honest yet respectful and mindful of individual self-esteem.

Understanding the importance of rest and recovery

Unlike the corporate world that views time off as a luxury, in sport it is considered to be absolutely essential. Players are given time to recuperate from the stress and strain of all the hard work that goes into training and competition.  The switch-off from the hectic schedule helps recharge their batteries, replenish their energy and restore their enthusiasm for the new season.

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