Everybody needs a Jumpman

April 27, 2016

Drake

We may not have a hockey team to cheer for right now, but local fans are getting revved up about basketball. We’re currently in the throws of the NBA play-offs and for the third year in a row, the Toronto Raptors are putting up a fighting chance as they take on American teams.

A few years ago, our city focused its sports-related energy on the Leafs, but now we’re embracing basketball like never before. And that’s largely thanks to rap superstar Drake.

In September 2013, the Raptors made Drake its Global Ambassador.  Not only does Drizzy now sit courtside, but he also champions the team wherever he goes and makes Canada’s only basketball team relevant in the GTA and around the world.

“He just made the Raptors cool. I don’t think you can put a dollar figure on that,” said TSN’s Cabbie Richards to Complex magazine last year.

So what do Drake and the Raptors have to do with how you hire? By bringing on Drake, the Raptors— and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE)—started a massive cultural shift for their organization; one that recruiters and small businesses can emulate as they bring new recruits on to their teams.

Hiring for Cultural Fit

It’s a common practice now to hire new candidates based on cultural fit. “Cultural fit is the likelihood that someone will reflect and/or be able to adapt to the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that make up your organization,” writes Katie Bouton in the Harvard Business Review. She notes, however, that all parties involved in the hiring process must have a clear understanding of their company’s culture in order to on-board the right person or people.

“Employees who fit well with their organization, coworkers, and supervisor,” she says, “had greater job satisfaction, were more likely to remain with their organization, and showed superior job performance.” This means that new recruits not only play well with other team members, but they do better work.

By defining what type of people you want to bring on to your team—be they creative communicators or analytical problem solvers—you can find both interpersonal harmony and measureable organizational gains.

Yet Bouton also discusses the downfall of this practice; namely it has the potential to be discriminatory and can result in a lack of diversity. It can also exacerbate existing internal problems.

So, what if your business is stagnating and you want to find new recruits who, like Drake, will shake up the status quo? 

Hiring Pirates and Scrappers

In her TED talk “Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume,” UPS HR manager Regina Hartley distinguishes between two types of resumes: silver spoons and scrappers. Or, as she explains, candidates who’ve been primed for success since birth and those who’ve had to work hard in order to prosper in the working world.

Hartley argues it’s easier to hire the so-called “silver spoons,” or the individuals with stellar academics and impressive work experience. Yet, it’s the scrappers—those who’ve had myriad jobs over the years—who might bring more value to your organization. These people have the tenacity to work hard and can thrive in difficult or troublesome environments. They’re less likely to be entitled or consider certain menial tasks beneath them.

According to Fast Company, Steve Jobs liked to hire people he called “pirates.” And Fast Company describes pirates as those who work well in both hierarchal and flat environments. “Pirates support one another and support their leader in the accomplishment of a goal. A pirate can stay creative and on task in a difficult or hostile environment. A pirate can act independently and take intelligent risks, but always within the scope of the greater vision and the needs of the greater team.”

These pirates don’t just follow instructions and get the job done; they, like Hartley’s scrappers, have gumption and they go above-and-beyond the call of duty to benefit both themselves and their teammates.

In a sense, both Hartley and Jobs agree with hiring for cultural fit, though that culture is one that embraces change, creativity and a sort of DIY ethos in the workplace. Instead of shuffling along, these types of employees take the road less traveled in order to do their work better.

And, as Hartley notes, it’s all about taking risks and speaking to those who may not seem like the perfect fit just from their resume. But, she explains, instead of tossing an intriguing, yet untraditional application in the reject pile, why not take a risk and bring that person in for an interview? It may just pay off in the long run.

As Drake croons in his 2013 hit, he “started from the bottom.” The self-made star considers himself a scrapper and passionately spreads the Toronto gospel wherever he goes. The Raptors recognized that in order to completely rebrand our local team. 

Back to Drake

Drake’s success with the Raptors isn’t solely related to optics. Sure, we hear more about the team nowadays and he helped make our basketball team—and Toronto—seem way cooler than ever before.

“It would be wrong to say he has reshaped the global perception of this city,” writes notable sports journalist Cathal Kelly in the Globe and Mail. “That would suggest there had been any perception at all.”

“Until Drake decided to make it his quixotic mission,” he continues, “Toronto did not exist in the imagination of the wider world. If it does now, it is almost entirely through the lyrical lens of a 29-year-old from Forest Hill.”

And whether or not Drake has anything to do with the Raptors continued success, the MLSE jumped on an opportunity to make Toronto’s team important—at least in the eyes of local fans.

While not every business can hire Drake, we can all make it our mission to find brand evangelists, scrappy hard workers and innovative pirates to join our teams. After all, everybody needs a jumpman.

Written by Amy Grief

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