Haterade (noun) – a fictional beverage, parodying the popular sports drink Gatorade, purportedly consumed by individuals who are jealous of others; supposedly fueling their ability to be jealous of, or ‘hate on’ others.
“Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie, unwed mothers, and cheating on your income tax.”
Columnist Mike Royko
The Yankees are a team in which people have strong feelings about-you either love them or hate them. Me? I was born and raised in NYC and a long-time Bronx resident, so you do the math on that one. Regardless of your opinion, the Bronx Bombers serve as an excellent metaphor for HR practitioners who want to be the best at what they do.
4 things HR pros can learn from the NY Yankees:
- Spend the money. It’s no secret that the Yankees have one of the largest payrolls in sports. But more often than not it works for them, in terms of securing great talent that allows them to consistently remain one of the top teams. As business leaders, we should also be using our finances to secure and motivate people who want to make the operations excel. If that means paying better than the competition, then so be it.
- Build a culture of excellence; expect and deliver nothing less than your best work. This is where the internal culture and the corporate brand must be in alignment. George Steinbrenner and the other senior leadership set the tone. All marketing and PR serve to highlight the accomplishments of the players and team, both past and present. This creates an expectation throughout the organization (and the fan base) that nothing less than a world championship is expected each and every year. Does your corporate culture reward satisfactory behavior, or does it push people to maximize their potential (and reward them appropriately)? Knowing the answer to this question will enable you to utilize your workforce to its greatest advantage.
- Individuals are important, but it’s still a team effort. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez are all future Hall-of-Fame inductees. But of the three, A-Rod gets the most grief from the fans, especially in the post-season. Why? Because he’s the only one that hasn’t gotten a World Series championship ring as a Yankee. The perception is that he’s a good individual contributor, but he hasn’t helped the team significantly in the playoffs. While one person can’t necessarily carry a team to victory, it’s expected that top players can and will rise to the occasion. As a HR practitioner, you have a responsibility to contribute to the bottom line, the same as everyone else. Administration and compliance is important, but far less so than making sure the business as a whole is successful.
- Stay focused on what really counts. New York is a tough city to be a professional in any arena, let alone sports. You’re scrutinized constantly and no one cares if it bothers you. It’s why the expression “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” is so appropriate. You have to have a thick skin and a strong support system in order to remain professional and continue to deliver expected results. If you’re a solid HR professional then you shouldn’t care whether or not you’re liked and respected by outside forces. Stay focused on the prize and the results will speak for themselves.
In conclusion, HR professionals need to step up and do great work, not only for themselves but for their teams. Invest smartly, set high goals, ensure the entire team’s on board with accomplishing said goals, and last, but not least, ignore the haters.