Agile used to be firmly ‘a tech thing’ but now it’s becoming, somewhat nervously, ‘an HR thing’.
Some of the world’s most successful businesses – like GE, Pfizer, Deloitte, KPMG, Johnson & Johnson, P&G, IBM – are successfully harnessing agile HR, but almost everyone else lags behind.
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Get prepared for tomorrow and keep reading to find out exactly what agile HR means, why it matters and how to push the agile agenda without endlessly smashing your head against the wall.
as “a move away from a rules- and planning-based approach toward a simpler and faster model driven by feedback from participants”.
It’s about adopting the structures, attitudes, processes and tools to become more flexible, more nimble and faster in your decision-making and actions. So within the HR arena, we’re talking about changing how you hire, manage, promote and empower your people.
gives twelve principles that underpin the agile movement which, although written for software developers, are widely applicable.
This includes ideas like:
Then there are a collection of techniques and methodologies that help bring this agile mindset to life. The daily standup, for example, is the most common agile technique, used by 90% of respondents to the . Sprints are another – with sprint planning used by 88%.
On the methodology side, the most common by some distance is scrum – which 56% of respondents use. The scrum methodology is simply a framework for an agile way of working, by building a feedback loop around short projects (sprints).
Tools and terms aside, agile is essentially about empowering cross-functional teams to collaborate towards excellence on short, task-based projects while reflecting on their progress and constantly growing from one project to the next.
That’s what agile HR is. Here’s why you should care.
The best way to showcase the benefits of agile HR is to explore what the key HR touchpoints might look like if you agile-ified them.
That’s why agile HR matters. Because agile HR can improve every. single. metric. you care about, not just overarching business metrics. Because the world of work has changed. And technology has changed. So today, agile HR is a much better way of doing things.
So let’s finally address the big question. How?
There’s admittedly some resistance to agile HR, including a not-insignificant amount from HR itself. Deep change across systems, processes and people is needed, which can be difficult to confront and can put people off.
Indeed, the 12th State of Agile report shares the three biggest obstacles to agile, and all three refer to cultural difficulties:
To move forwards you’ll need a convincing business case to and secure senior buy-in from leaders who can champion change from the top-down and start shifting cultural reluctance.
You’ll also need your own people to recognize the need for change, because HR will desperately need re-skilling to meet these new demands. People who won’t change will eventually become obsolete.
Then the practical side. Agile HR is as much about the tools and technologies that facilitate an agile mindset as the mindset itself. Which means you need to invest into the right tools to drive change –
As with any initiative, your best bet is to start small to prove concept before you scale.
To start embracing agile HR, you don’t need to transform recruitment, onboarding and L&D in one fell swoop. Instead pick the touchpoint you believe will deliver maximum returns for minimum effort, trial it across one business area and learn and refine as you go.
After all, that’s agile.