In a Deloitte survey of over 10,000 organizational and human resources leaders in 140 countries, 94% of respondents said that “‘agility and collaboration’ are critical to their organization’s success.”
Agility is no longer a new concept. On the contrary, it is a global best practice that is transforming workplaces around the world, including the largest ones, like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft.
Traditionally, agility is defined as the ability to move quickly and easily. However, in the context of HR, it is the ability to adapt and evolve people and processes in pace to accelerating and unpredictable changes – to support individual, strategic and organizational agility. As an HR or L&D professional, being agile means being able to driving employee engagement and retention in sync with the overall organizational goals.
Organizations are agile when their workforce prioritizes customer satisfaction and delivers value to their customers. As the HR function is traditionally not designed to directly bring value to the customer, it is often criticized for its inability to take swift actions, leading to frustration within the workforce. As a result, it is imperative for organizations to encourage and enable HR to be more attentive and responsive toward changing technologies and business requirements to stay competitive and attract top talent. In an agile organization, the function continues to provide recruitment, development, performance management and other HR services – but using an agile approach.
According to a LinkedIn article by Wayne Tarken, SPHR, CSM, a senior adviser for the Agile HR Consortium, there are three components of HR agility: the ability to “quickly and easily identify issues that need to be addressed,” the ability to decrease “the time [it] takes to develop then implement a response,” and “incorporating analytics and design thinking to predict, design then target programs with the highest probability of being successful.”
Essentially a non-technical function, HR can benefit from adapting agile practices to its needs rather than using the ones technical teams use, like Scrum. Here are a few practices that can make your HR function more agile:
Identifying and Recruiting Top Talent
Recruiting remains an HR priority, yet discovering and developing talent within the existing workforce is critical going ahead. Maximizing the skills of current employees calls for improved readiness and responsiveness on HR’s part to engage the employees and encourage them to foster and maximize their skills.
Creating a Learning Culture
A learning culture is an important part of an agile organization. Employee engagement is not only desirable but also a primary value-add for HR departments. Embedding company values within a multigenerational and diverse workforce is a great way to demonstrate agility.
Encouraging Career Optimization
Agile processes can enable HR to respond positively to employees’ aspirations and ambitions and help them to expand their skill sets. For example, HR can tap into the rising influence of artificial intelligence (AI) to help identify skills within the workforce and establish agile processes to develop career optimization programs.
Leveraging Data and Analytics
Analytics is, possibly, the best way for an HR function to become agile, as it enables insightful decision-making processes. Data and analytics minimize the need for risky guesswork that often lead to severe consequences.
Digitizing the Workplace
The modern workforce is digital, so HR professionals must focus on improving their processes to digitize workplace practices. With organizational culture, employee engagement and employee retention emerging as key business priorities, there is increased pressure on HR to foster a more positive digital culture. To be agile, HR also needs to leverage new technologies and platforms to help create a more productive and adaptive workplace that will progress the organization as a whole.
Bringing agility into the HR function should be a leadership prerogative, one that empowers and galvanizes HR to become an important cog in the organizational mechanism. The HR function, thus, needs to be mindful of all the changes happening across the organization, including the adoption of new technologies, the reshuffling of processes or the realignment of business targets, and adapt accordingly to facilitate productivity and efficiency, while driving business growth.