A year is a long time in sport. When Left Field Sports Solutions stepped into the arena in 2016, we were there to change the game. Our vision – to bring best practice from the corporate sector in HR and recruitment to the sporting environment.
The sporting landscape is traditionally one negotiated only by those with experience in the sporting industry. However, the past 12 months have demonstrated that breaking with tradition can yield results and help you find your way forward when it comes to this ever-changing landscape.
What quickly became apparent was that sport, as with a lot of industries, was still operating with the view that the primary function of Human Resources and recruitment was a traditional one. With our unique service offerings, we set about changing this perception and found many organisations were ready and willing to step outside of their comfort zone and embrace the way forward.
In our role as business partners, helping to expand our clients’ knowledge of the HR and recruitment function has outlined our point of difference in the market. Traditionally, HR has been seen to play a functional role supporting day to day operations and dealing with employee matters. However, the modern pillars of HR have moved the role into a more strategic position, partnering with the leadership team to guide organisations to both develop structures that will result in the organisation achieving its strategic goals, and ensure this is driven by the right people in the right roles. Underlying this process is our redefinition of recruitment – moving away from a transactional process to a transformational one.
Getting the right people on board is more than just a ‘click and apply’ process. Over the past year we have helped our clients engage professionals that align with their strategic direction and are the right fit for the organisation. This means not only fitting in with the culture, but having the skills and the knowledge to professionally deal with the challenges particular to the sporting landscape they will be navigating. Understanding the organisation, the climate and also the candidate, have proven to be essential to a successful appointment. Developing a long-term relationship with both the client and the candidate are crucial to achieving success and this includes understanding where the candidate is on their career journey.
Over the past year we have filled many senior management roles including CEOs and High Performance Directors across Australia and New Zealand using this process. Drawing on our experience in the sporting industry and the understanding of what the client needs as their landscape evolves, as well as the candidate’s skill set and career journey, we ensure that the right person is in the chair for the future.
Education has been part of our journey and we have found that, even though we can offer help with business development strategy, a lot of organisations already have this in place. What we have discovered they do need help with is the mechanics, or how to get the right structure to achieve their business goals. A lot of companies are working uphill trying to create a structure around the people they already have, rather than looking at the structure independently and its critical role in driving strategic success.
One of the constant challenges faced by sport is reduced funding. As a result, sporting bodies find themselves navigating new terrain as a reduction in funds means that shared resources are now a very real part of the make-up of these organisations. This presents challenges that may not have been dealt with before by the executive teams and can be a real source of anxiety for an organisation. One of the most rewarding projects Left Field has undertaken in this past year was a restructure of a large national sporting body. Upon arrival it was clear to see the task was creating a lot of uncertainty and nervousness within the organisation. When our HR practitioners stepped in and methodically worked through the people strategy required to achieve their strategic business goals, the buy-in from the client was immediate and the relief was evident. Seeing that turnaround from a nervous, worried executive team to one that was on-board with the process and achieving a successful outcome stands out in my mind. It illustrates that our clients recognise the value of utilising experts to help understand both the role of HR, and the impact of transformational people strategy including the acquisition of great talent.
The success of our model has seen us expand from supporting State and National bodies across Australia to supporting major sporting organisations in New Zealand. Over the next 12 months we plan to achieve further international reach by taking our model to a wider international market.
Our bespoke solutions are changing the game both nationally and internationally. Providing the bridge between corporate expertise and the sporting industry allows us to engage expertise from the corporate world and apply it through a sporting lens.
Our vision has proven to have a solid foundation, the message is getting out there and the game is changing. Contact me if you would like to discuss the way our unique solutions can help you navigate your changing landscape.