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Are you a Gronk?

August 26, 2022

Businesses turning to Gronks to fill talent gaps

By Gail Lethbridge

Seasoned Pros Content lab

As the work world grapples with talent shortages, a new category of worker is emerging to describe people who leave their jobs after long careers and then return to the workplace again, this time under different terms.

The term “Gronk” is the persona sometimes used to describe this phenomenon.

Gronk refers to the NFL football player Rob Gronkowski, who left the New England Patriots and took a break from his football career. He then came back to the NFL after his former teammate Tom Brady convinced him to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gronkowski was only interested if the pay was right and the contract was flexible. 

The maverick football player has since left the NFL again. But who knows what the future holds? He is, after all, a Gronk.

Another recent example of this in the sports world is Serena Williams who is leaving the game of tennis to pursue a career as a venture capitalist. 

“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me,” she wrote in a column for Vogue. “Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution.”

Gronks are the comeback kids

Like Gronkowski and Williams, Gronks are not always happy to leave their careers to pursue a life of leisure, golf and gardening. They may have taken a sabbatical to think about their future, but they are not done, not by a long shot. They still have a lot to offer.

This category of talent has accumulated a multitude of skills that are sought after by employers who are trying to fill talent gaps resulting from retirements and dissatisfaction with work culture. They still have the energy to contribute and are eager to achieve a sense of purpose that taps into their knowledge.

They may not be actively searching for a job, but if opportunity knocks and it offers the right combination of flexibility and work-life balance, they are interested. 

That might include an interim project or part-time engagement that leverages their experience. They want the choice of working from home on the schedule they choose.

They are confident in their scope of knowledge and aren’t necessarily looking for traditional incentives like opportunities for advancement. Gronks have already “been there and done that.”

Rich talent resource for business

It’s no secret that businesses – large and small – are on the hunt for talent. They have recognized that the Gronks of this world have completed successful careers in business that provide a good match for skills that are in demand.

In particular, employers are looking for skill sets that come from experience. These include problem-solving, leadership, good communication and solutions-based management. 

Because of their experience, Gronks can hit the ground running with minimal training and on-boarding. They deliver projects faster and increase a business’s ROI. They bring deep insights into business strategy and many have the ability to absorb all the data being generated and translate it into meaningful pathways towards business goals in a dynamic economic environment.

Increasingly, employers are looking for skill sets, rather than industry experience. The idea is that experienced talent can work across business sectors. In many cases, this introduces a cross-fertilization of ideas which promotes innovation.

A new approach to sourcing talent

Organizations facing talent challenges have been forced to reconfigure their talent acquisition strategies. If the right sort of talent demands flexibility, then job roles have to be tailored to meet their needs.

This means parsing jobs into discrete projects or part-time positions which can be fulfilled with remote or hybrid working situations. Leaders and HR specialists need to prepare their work culture for contract employees who are highly skilled subject matter experts who are constantly coming and going. Temporary job roles are now a permanent reality.

Relationships have to be developed with reliable talent sourcing platforms and agencies so employers can find quality talent fast.

And Gronks are the poster children for the new talent-sourcing reality.

SeasonedPros.ca is an on-demand business talent source. Clients with an immediate need for experienced talent trust us to source professionals for project, interim and part-time roles. Each professional in our national database has 20+ years of business experience. We provide our clients two-four vetted professionals in 10 business days or less


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