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5 Reasons Why Hiring An Athlete Can Be A Win For Your Business

Originally published on Upstart Business Journal

The UpTake: Now that the very first college football championship is over, it's worth asking a question: what happens to these players when they give up the game and hit the job market? What do they bring to the table that others don't?

Athletes — not just in football, but in all kinds of college and pro sports — can make excellent additions to your work team. No doubt I'm biased here. I played football in college and have created two companies, and, dedicated to pairing top employers with great athletes.

The feedback that I hear continuously from each of my partners is how much they value the traits of the athletes we send their way. Here are five traits that athletes possess that you should look for in potential employees:

1. Athletes have an advanced culture competency

Most entrepreneurs agree that diversity is needed to build a strong team. And while differences and varied experiences can build a team, those same differences are often a source of conflict. That's not usually true with athletes. I played football throughout college and during my freshman year, I roomed with four other gridiron warriors. Among us, were three different religions, two different races and a variety of political views, but even with our many differences, we were one team with one goal — a solid unit. It's this "one team, one goal" mentality that makes athletes key drivers of diversity because they are able to see beyond differences and respect the unique abilities that each teammate brings to the team.

2. Athletes are highly adaptable

Business plans are great, but for startups and small businesses, they're written in sand and not in stone. Our businesses are constantly evolving. This is why it's important to employ people who can adapt to change. Athletes thrive in change because they're used to plans, plays and strategies changing frequently throughout a game. Athletes embrace change and know that it's a necessity to win. This attitude will be extremely valuable within your company culture.

3. Athletes want the win

At the end of the day, an athlete wants to win – and so do entrepreneurs. With the "W" in mind, athletes work tirelessly to reach and exceed the expectations they've trained so diligently to attain. This is a mindset that cannot be turned off and will prove to be valuable and welcomed within your company.

"Athlete's are tireless and laser focused on the end goal. They will do whatever it takes to win. These are the same characteristics we look for in an employee to help fuel the success of our business," said Jeff Batuhan, senior director for global talent acquisition at the Stryker Corporation.

4. Athletes are coachable

When you're building your business, you need a team that can take feedback, learn from it and immediately put it in action. Athletes are receptive for this coaching because they are happy that leadership cares enough to help them grow. This is one of the greatest traits that our employer partners love about hiring athletes. Athletes want to be coached and understand that to be the best, they need to learn from the best.

5. Athletes stick with it

Stick-to-itiveness is a key trait possessed by athletes. Athletes understand that success is a long-term commitment. I dedicated my entire adolescence to preparing to play college football. After tackling that (literally and figuratively) I've spent my post-college years building my own businesses. Athletes take a plan, work the plan and don't stop working until they achieve success. And athletes aren't looking for instant gratification – they will commit to your business and be in it for the long haul.

"Enterprise has a strong culture that's committed to developing our future leaders by promoting from within. Targeting the athlete community aligns with our values because athletes understand the value of team goals and preparing for long term success," said Marie Artim, Vice President, Talent Acquisition, Enterprise Holdings.