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Deadline day: what can the transfer window tell us about our own business practices?

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Twitter has been awash with ludicrous rumours and hearsay for the past 24 hours. But now the dust has settled on another transfer window, what can we lessons can we take from football's silly season?

Football’s silly season is over. The transfer window is shut, Jim White’s entered his bi-annual hibernation and that rumour about Cristiano Ronaldo signing for Accrington Stanley never came to fruition. 

All in all, clubs in the English top flight have spent over £1billion in this window. 13 teams have broken their previous transfer record (new boys Burnley and reigning champs Leicester have actually eclipsed their previous benchmark twice), with Manchester United smashing the world record in splashing a reported £89m on French midfield superstar Paul Pogba. 

With so many players switching teams, managers will be even more worried about how their shiny new acquisitions will get on in a fresh environment. Starting a new job can be a stressful business, especially when there are countless media outlets covering every aspect of your switch. While there may not be a reporter detailing who got the round of jaegerbombs in at your leaving drinks or your health and safety lecture from your new office manager, fitting in at a new outfit is a daunting prospect for us all.

Tom Castley, Vice President of Xactly EMEA sees many similarities in the pressures put on new salespeople making a transition, “There are strong parallels for salespeople changing companies. Footballers are expected to continue to perform at their best for their new employers, despite the change in manager, team and even company culture.

“Similarly, salespeople are employed on the basis of their past-performance and expected to do as well immediately. In fact it’s crucial that businesses plan how they can best engage their new starters and ensure they maintain their previous excellent performance.”

Maintaining that high level of performance can be easier said than done. High profile transfers can often backfire. Chelsea paid £50m on world beating striker Fernando Torres in 2011 only to see a return of 20 goals in three and a half seasons. Without the option to send their new employee out on loan, employers must carefully track the data to see if their new signings are fitting in.

Castley commented: “Businesses like football clubs must monitor the performance of their employees using empirical tools. Using data, businesses can quickly spot and address gaps in performance.”

Rather than just checking for drops in performance, Castley also feels that the incentivised model used by champions Leicester could also motivate new starters. Following their incredible performance last season, the club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought every member of the squad a new BMW. Castley said: “Variable pay is a key tool for businesses and clubs to incentivise great performances in the long term and ultimately justify the employment of the new recruit.” 

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s motivational assets may not be relatable to your business, but for the most part the tactics are. Sweeten the deal, monitor performance, and hope that your new starter becomes an integral part of your outfit. The stakes may be worlds apart, but the methods remain largely the same. 

Tom Ritchie

By Tom Ritchie

Tom is an editorial assistant at Changeboard.

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