The Ohio State University Department of Athletics has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Sports by Forbes.com. Ohio State’s Department of Athletics was the only collegiate organization to make the list of national leaders in sports employment. Additional honorees included professional teams and leagues, as well as sports marketing and data companies.
Janine Oman, Associate Athletics Director for Sports Administration and Performance, captured the culture of excellence that is embedded in both individual and organizational efforts at the Department of Athletics:
“The culture of OSU Athletics is one of excellence that is focused on the growth and development of each person. It is an environment where all individuals are valuable members of the team with ideas to contribute and given the opportunity to lead those efforts.
The department provides traditional education opportunities as well as engages employees with projects to stretch them and grow new skills. Individuals are given autonomy at the local level to determine what works best for their group. Gene [Smith] truly supports each individual and allows them to lead. It is a culture of we and not me as cliché as that sounds. I am very thankful for the opportunity the Buckeyes have given me to grow my professional skills.”
The March 2 column was written by Jason Belzer, a Rutgers University professor of organizational behavior and sports law and founder of sports consulting firm GAME Inc. Belzer sought to identify the top organizations that foster employee growth and success in the hyper-competitive world of collegiate and professional sports. Interviewing employees at many levels within organizations of all sizes, Belzer looked for indicators of national reputation and leadership in employee satisfaction, work-life balance and career growth.
Among his interviews, Belzer found one common thread in the organizations that were renowned for their employment environment: culture. “Companies with the highest levels of satisfaction were also the one where employees felt they were more than just a replaceable cog in a giant machine, and where the primary focus of the organization was about creating a positive work environment rather than just the product on the field or the company’s bottom line,” Belzer wrote.
Other indicators of a leading employment environment for sports organizations included a commitment to community engagement and leadership’s inclusion of perspectives at all levels of the organization in decision-making.