It’s just a fact of work life — not everyone has the same amount of dollars to invest in opportunities or challenges. In today’s economic environment the numbers with less is accelerating and even those with resources appear to be hesitant to spend. This is true especially when it comes to the hiring, promoting, and rewarding of employees.
Billy Beane, GM of baseball’s Oakland A’s, found himself in just such a predicament. He was trying to build a winning, cost-effective team with one of the lowest staff budgets in the business, while he was also competing in an environment where the richest league members were spending huge sums on super stars.
Beane had to get an edge, a competitive edge. With technology making stat analysis easier and other teams still doing things in a more traditional way, he s128 believed he had found it. The abundance of measurements in baseball is staggering. Choosing which were relevant became Billy’s passion. He is credited with starting what came to be called baseball’s “statistical revolution” using sabermetric principles to make hiring decisions. Today, with time giving us a better perspective, there are things about what he did that worked and were mimicked, and other views that proved either short-term, not duplicable, or downright wrong. The question was what to look at and when and how to respond.
To Beane’s surprise, some of the tried and true stats — runs, times on base, and ERAs (Earn Run Averages) had less impact on winning than say the ability to move up a base, the timing when the hit was made, or how well a batter could get the pitcher to throw a maximum number of pitches. He began to look for undervalued players — those considered too young and lacking in experience, not long ball hitters, and those who were away from the spotlight.
So what does this have to do with hiring, promoting, and rewarding employees? I would respond “plenty.”
Here are a few things to ponder:
Hiring experience gets you people with bad habits. Take newcomers under your wing and train them your way. Some of the dollars you saved on salary can buy the best training.
Hiring older workers gets you experience and stability since it is unlikely they are going to move cross-country for a love interest or because they want to ski 200 days a year. A 50-year-old worker could contribute for the next ten to fifteen years. What other age groups offers this guarantee?