Posted: June 29, 2015 in 2015 Events & Posts

There are times when the Human Resources Department of a company must respond to poor earnings, high general and administrative (G &A) costs, and industry forecast by downsizing, reductions in force (RIF) or simply put layoffs.

What if we changed the system of how new and existing talent is acquired?

Today talent is mainly acquired by referrals, job postings, recruiting events and with the use of staffing companies.

In today’s fast moving economy and technological advances there is a need for a system that allows industries to benefit from competitors inability to maintain talent that could become the next great leader.  Think about it, what if the person your company just laid off was the next Mary Barra, current General Motors (GM) CEO who started with GM inspecting panels or the next Kurt Warner  to lead your franchise on a three-year record breaking run with a Superbowl win in between?

In the NFL there is such a system in place.  The system is known as the Waiver System (Waiver Wire) or the Transactions.


The Waiver Wire system is in use by the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA).  The system has been very effective at helping teams find often overlooked or discarded talented individuals with high potential.

In terms of this discussion, I am only truly qualified to discuss the NFL Waiver system, as during my three year NFL career I was signed,  activated,  de-activated,  waived,  released,  cut,  and resigned by the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2001 season a total of five times within the same season before being on the active roster the last six games.

Yes, the NFL is a tough business not just on the body but also on the mind.


What is the difference between waived, cut and released?

All three terms are synonyms for termination of employment.  The number of years of service in the NFL and the time of year has a lot to do with each term as it relates to individual players.  A vested veteran player with four years of service will be handled differently from a player with less years of service.  Keep in mind football does not have recall-able waivers like the business model baseball works under.

  • Waived: A non-vested player (less than four years of service) who is terminated goes through waivers. When he is released another team can claim him within a certain period of time. A vested veteran only goes through the waiver system from the trading deadline in mid-season through the end of the season. During the off-season and all the way up to the trading deadline, a vested veteran gets released.
  • Released: A vested veteran is free when he is terminated and can sign with any club. Keep in mind, if the termination takes place between the end of the trading deadline and the end of the calendar year, the player goes through waivers. A vested veteran released this time of year is free to sign with any team.
  • Cut: Is an unofficial term for being terminated and one of the above two categories applies.

Source: NFL.com “Even in the offseason, NFL education never ends By Pat Kirwan” May 19, 2008


Week to week NFL Teams are forced make roster decisions based on needs position by position.  For example, the starting linebacker gets hurt.  The team needs to get another linebacker who can join the team as a backup or starter.  In order to do this the team must release, waive or cut a player from the 53 man active roster.   Like the supposed method used in layoffs (under-performing talent out first) NFL teams review their roster then select a player to release regardless of position.  Some teams will release an under-performing veteran to free up money to sign a younger player or a better performing veteran.

A notice then goes out on the Waiver Wire to the other 31 NFL teams that X player at X position has been released, waived or cut.  Thus giving the other 32 NFL teams the opportunity to evaluate X player to assess if that players talent can help their team.


The Joseph Wesley Company has just completed a round of layoffs.  We theoretically were able to identify those employees who were not performing to expectations.  Three months have elapsed and the outlook for growth is great plus we have secured a major client that will require the company to staff up in order to service.

Now instead of the company having to contact multiple staffing companies (who at times submit the same resume), resurrect the internal referral program (hidden cost) and spend money on ads announcing the company is hiring we can simply access the Corporate Waiver Wire.

The Corporate Waiver Wire, like the NFL, will post personnel by position, years of experience, last company and transaction description all in one place.  Hiring corporations and organizations can just simply look at the talent now available on the waiver wire.  Just like in the NFL you can bring in selected talent by position or years of experience.

You can now save on overhead by not having to spend money on the unforeseeable costs of hiring.

Companies just as NFL Teams will still have to complete the interview process but will now have a better more effective and efficient method of finding talent quickly.  Where it takes months to weeks to find just that right candidate to fill those open positions it will now take days to possibly hours.

I think I am on to something here.  Who has the startup Capital?


Simply put corporate culture has looked to sports for years to understand and adapt for use multiple concepts and methods.  Things like Leadership, Management, Building Winning Teams, Employee Motivation, and the list goes on.  Now we have another concept we should look at. Use of the Waiver Wire for Talent Management.

Think about it.

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