If I Was Running A Company…Trades

This is the first of a three part series of what if HR and Sports Business merge

In every workplace, there will be disgruntled employees who do not want to be there and want to go somewhere they feel comfortable or appreciated.  Of course, there are available job seekers in the market (free agents).  However, what if the best person for the job and the workplace culture is currently working with another company and vice versa?

The company can still do the interviewing process to find their employee, but if they interview someone who still holds a position and they really want the person, they can negotiate the person and that person can leave their current position at their current company in reality.   However, let’s just say both companies has a  person who is doing great work, but do not have the heart to continue and they want to work with the other company that is currently occupied by someone else?

First, the employees must have close to equal value so no one has an advantage.  Then, both companies among themselves must agree through reports and interviews that their employee was the best candidate and best fit for the other organization.   It then heads to a state or federal arbitrator, depending on the situation.  The arbitrator reviews the agreement, the companies personnel files and budget and makes a decision.  If the arbitrator accepts, then the trade is approved and the employees removed themselves immediately with their current company and start working the following work day with their new company.  Do you think that sounds cool to have trades?

In reality, there are two major problems: The first problem is the arbitrator could take a long time since these documents must be shipped to the state’s Capitol or in Washington D.C. and that might take a long time before a decision is made.  The second and the biggest issue is that we’re living in a free agency period and people have the freedom to roam around.  Also, contracts are not guaranteed and most contracts do not have an end date, so you can work for 30 years or 30 days.  People prefer to have the freedom to make their choice on their own.

If it were 20 years ago, the trade option would of been awesome for companies who were trying to find talent and swap their resources.  However, in this day in age, people wanted to be treated as human beings, not a prize.  In addition, social media, technology, and happy hours have made it easier for companies to get their talent.  That is why you will never see a blockbuster trade anytime soon.

By the way, the last blockbuster non-sports business trade: Al Michaels was traded from Disney to NBC for a cartoon show, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” and other resources.

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  • Of course, the key question is what and who determines employee “value.” The key part of “Moneyball” was how Billy Beane was able to exploit market inefficiencies as he valued certain employee characteristics (such as on-base percentage) that fellow teams did not. As we have seen, however, the market caught up to Beane, and Oakland is languishing.

    Further, it would require visible performance outcomes. The nice thing about sports trades is that each players performance statistics are well-known. Unfortunately, in Corporate America, those things are not as visible, making assessing value that much more difficult.

    I would, however, want to see things such as “no trade clauses” and ” an employee to be named later” instituted if such an option was adopted.

  • @akaBruno You’re right, value is hard to determine since you have different fields, location, and subjective views and I do wish there are visible outcomes, but people want their “privacy.”

    I do also hope there are “no trade clauses” and “employee to be named later.” It makes the whole thing fun.

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