Getting it right: the right people in the right places

By Zarina Bahdur -

The key to a successful team is that everyone plays their part as they move towards achieving a common goal or series of goals. This is proven to be easier said then done. 

When going through countless CVs and conducting multiple interviews it is easy to get excited to find ‘the one’. The true test is watching this person as they join the company. Many places have probation periods but from experience, there are far too many that don’t take this period for what it should be - a testing ground to see if there is a fit between the employee and employer. This is even more complex in an African market space where finding the correct skill set combined with the correct knowledge of sport and the commitment to the sport timeline can coexist. In my first article for iWorkinSport, I asked why do you want to get involved in sport and highlighted how the different this industry is in terms of work hours and commitments. 

Far too often we find people know their sport, but don’t have the required level of skills or are ‘freaked out’ by the true work hours. Therefore, in the eyes of the recruiter, that one person that ‘clicks’ feels like a god-send. Experience has taught me that we have to use this period to truly assess the person’s ability to adjust to the role, pick up new skills and knowledge, their personality and the countless other things that the role requires in order to be successfully filled. The mistake often made however is that even when the recruiter sees that the person is not the right fit, they are taken on permanently in the hopes that they will somehow fit the practical criteria of the job because we have invested time, money and effort in training this individual. This extends to consulting and freelance staff as well. Instead of cutting them loose, we give them permanent contracts, more responsibility, additional tasks and hope that somehow the issues that are an inherit part of their being will change. This includes basics like time management, basic comprehension and understanding, communication and taking accountability. 

The employees themselves make the same mistake in staying even when the job role is either not as advertised, or if the environment is not suitable for them. While it may not be easy for most people to just jump ship (we all need money after all), it is my opinion to keep looking at other alternatives so that you don’t have to spend months and years in a position, or organization that will negatively impact one’s mental health and wellbeing. 

The point of this article is to help both, employers and employees to identify the issue, which becomes destructive to the entire chain, thus often causing a toxic environment, and negatively impacting productivity of individuals and teams drastically. 

When it comes to people being redundant or no longer fitting the brand or the organization itself, one would think that sports companies would apply the lessons from the on-field transfers to the off-field business models. Help that individual move in, be it in a form of negotiating a fair exit package or finding a transfer situation with another entity within the same space.  

By simply acknowledging what is in fact needed in any role from both a skills perspective as well as basic character perspective, by employing the right person for the right roles and making a significant effort to upskill them in areas of interest to them as well as the company and creating a healthy environment with open and honest communication with little to no repercussions (yes people deal with your egos) as a key policy, staff turnovers would decrease and brand loyalty from within would actually exist in more than name.

- Zarina Bahdur is Head of Operations at Goal Africa and FIFA Master alumna.