Agile HR. It’s likely to transform how we currently manage people and work.

Much more than a buzz word, ‘agile’ management is now a vast global movement that is transforming the world of work.

Organisations such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are recognisably agile. A recent Deloitte survey* of more than more than 10,000 business and HR leaders across 140 countries revealed that nearly all surveyed respondents (94%) reported that “agility and collaboration” are critical to their organisation’s success.

Originating in the software development field as a way of meeting the rapidly changing and complex demands of customers, agile is now spreading to other organisations. Embracing an agile mindset, goals, principles and values is gaining traction as a way to meet the changing demands of today’s workforce.


What’s needed to achieve organisational agility?


According to Management Consultancy group,  The Agile Eleven, there are three components need to achieve agility:

  1. Having teams that work better; in a more transparent and collaborative way. If done well, teams will achieve better communication, collaboration, empowerment and engagement.
  2. In addition to having teams that work better; the second level is about making sure that the team is doing the right work. One of the risks of agile is that you can be doing the wrong work, faster.
  3. Changing systems of work.  You can also call it “organisational ethos” or “how things get done here”, or “the culture of a place”. This is where organisations should look not only at their operating model and structure but also at their processes and procedures.  A great example we often see is when executives want their teams to collaborate more but when we ask them if their people’s KPI’s are individual or team based, …I guess you know the answer.

An agile organisation functions as a network. Agile practitioners at all levels view the organisation as a fluid and transparent network of players that are collaborating towards a common goal of satisfying customers. Communications flow easily in all directions. Ideas can come from anywhere.

The transformation to agile involves a change in mindset and a shift in corporate culture. For HR it means embracing the same agile principles as the rest of the organisation, it becomes in effect a truly agile partner, not merely moderating support. Here HR, like the organisation, focuses on delivering value to external customers, dismissing anything that doesn’t contribute to that goal.

Agile methodology can be applied to many components of the HR practice, such as performance management and real-time employee feedback.

Agile means an organisation in which people in all business areas have the capacity to embrace change, and to create advantage out of the unexpected and unplanned. In a world of rapid change, it seems taking lessons from the IT crowd on how we now hire, develop and manage people might be a good idea.


*2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends

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