Why Don’t the Atlanta Braves Have a Labor Shortage?

It seems like almost every small business owner I talk to is struggling to find help. I go to local restaurants that are short-staffed. I see stores with signs on the windows asking for help. Service trucks with “help wanted” signs on the back door. Despite inflationary economic pressure and an apparent recession in place, we also have a labor shortage.

So why is it that our local MLB team, the Atlanta Braves, doesn’t seem to suffer from that same labor shortage?

Atlanta’s favorite home team, the Braves are currently in second place chasing the first-place Mets. Reigning World Champions, the Braves have been consistent winners for almost two decades. That being said, I could have selected my favorite team, the (almost last place) Miami Marlins, or just about any professional sports team for this article as they all seem to stay fully staffed.

I don’t remember ever hearing the manager of the Braves say, “We can’t find a first baseman anywhere,” or posting a job description on Indeed for a catcher. None of the MLB teams seem to have suffered from the “Great Resignation”. They are all fully staffed.

Why is that?

Here are three reasons. See if any of these might apply to your business.

1. Strong culture.

It starts each season with a compelling vision of winning the World Series. Taking home the big trophy. There’s no preseason discussion of second place or satisfying customers. It’s all about being the best team in baseball.

And the players all seem to like and support each other. When one player gets a big hit or a run-saving play in the field, the rest of the team applauds and high-fives each other. At the end of each winning game, the team gathers on the field and celebrates.

What happens when a player does not perform to expectations? They sit. There are lofty expectations set for each player and he knows exactly what the team expects of him.

What role does your company’s culture play in finding and keeping the best talent today?


2. Intensive hiring process.

The Braves have team scouts looking at prospective players around the world, 12 months a year. They have to. They never know where the next Chipper Jones or Ronald Acuna might show up.

Once they select a player, typically that individual goes to the minor leagues for several years to hone their skills before playing in the Major Leagues. Only the elite players make it to Atlanta to play. The Braves invest heavily in training and developing these young players.

And once the best players make it to the big leagues, they continue to practice and train almost every day.

How much is your company spending today to find, train, and promote your best players?


3. They honor their alumni (past players).

First baseman Freddie Freeman played for the Braves for 11 years. He was Rookie of the Year, a five-time all-star, and league MVP. He became a free agent in the last off-season and ended up in Los Angeles. When his team, the Dodgers, showed up in Atlanta for a series recently, what happened? He received multiple standing ovations from the fans and multiple hugs from previous Braves teammates. They celebrated his return as an opponent.

Many of the Braves’ coaches are ex-players. Some have even gone into team management. Once a year, Braves players, management, and fans honor retired players during homecoming.

What is your company doing to support, recognize, and honor past employees?

The next time your small business is short-staffed and unable to find good talent, remind yourself how the Braves do it.

Play ball!