HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Agile HR

Perhaps you've heard of the Agile approach to management. Let's look at how to apply it to HR and what the benefits to your organization can be.

What Is Agile HR?

You've probably heard about the Agile management approach. From its beginnings in software development in the early 2000s, it has come to represent an attitude of delivering results faster through incremental improvements and being less burdened with traditional approaches to management. Agile HR focuses on the responsiveness and adaptiveness of the HR function. These teams work collaboratively and incrementally to design, develop and deliver HR initiatives.

Core Principles of Agile HR

Organizations can navigate uncertainty, engage employees, and drive innovation more effectively by applying the principles of Agile methodology to HR practices. Here are the core principles inherent to Agile HR.
  • Put people first. Agile HR organizations put the needs of their employees first and create a culture of trust and collaboration. They focus on outcomes and value rather than the process.
  • Always evolve. Agile HR organizations are able to adapt to change quickly and easily. They are not afraid to experiment and try new things, and they always look for ways to improve.
  • Work together. Agile HR organizations break down silos and encourage collaboration between different departments and teams. This helps them to get things done more quickly and efficiently.
  • Empower the workforce. Agile HR organizations empower their employees to take ownership of their work. They give employees the freedom to make decisions and the resources they need to succeed.
  • Make decisions based on data. Agile HR organizations make decisions based on data rather than gut instinct. They collect data on employees and their performance and use it to make informed decisions about HR policies and practices.
  • Never stand still. Agile HR organizations constantly look for ways to improve their HR practices. They use data and feedback to identify areas where they can improve and they make changes accordingly.
  • Be open and honest. Agile HR organizations are transparent with their employees. They share information about the company's performance and individual’s performance, offer coaching, and provide check-ins when needed.
  • Embrace change. Agile HR organizations are able to respond to change quickly and easily. They have a process for managing change and are always looking for ways to adapt to the changing needs of their employees and their business.
  • Take small steps. Agile HR organizations develop their HR practices incrementally. They start with small changes and learn from their mistakes. This helps them to avoid making changes that could have a negative impact on their employees.

How Is Agile HR Beneficial?

As the workplace continues to evolve, HR needs to evolve with it. Agile HR puts the needs of the internal customers (the employees) over process and procedures. It gives HR professionals the tools and mindset we need to be successful. Here are some of the benefits that come from Agile HR.

Deconstruction of HR Silos

Silos create divisions within organizations that can lead to delays, demotivation, reduced satisfaction with work, and increased costs. By breaking down silos, Agile HR promotes a culture of shared accountability and a holistic approach to people and culture management. For example, consider the traditional approach of one person focusing on administrative aspects of onboarding. Instead, the Agile approach encourages collaboration with other departments to create a holistic program. For example, HR works with training and development to create a training program.They coordinate with the manager to schedule meetings and introductions and provide a mentor or buddy to help new employees navigate the company. Finally, HR tracks the progress of new employees and provides feedback. This collaboration leads to improved communication, efficiency, decision-making, and employee experience. Overall, HR working in collaboration instead of silos benefits the company and employees.

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset refers to dedication for improvement and a love of learning. Since Agile HR values adaptability and responsiveness, employees are encouraged to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and continuously seek growth and development. For instance, at InnovateTech, Mark Johnson, the CEO of InnovateTech Solutions, moved performance appraisals from the traditional approach to an Agile one. As a result, employees are empowered to set ambitious goals, take ownership of their development, and seek ongoing feedback and coaching support. In a compelling way, this collective focus on growth mindset drives performance improvement to accomplish the mission of the company.

T-shaped Cross-Functionality

Agile HR encourages HR professionals to broaden their own (and others') expertise and develop a broader range of skills. One approach to this cross-functionality is theT-shaped employee, who has a deep knowledge of a particular work function (the vertical part of the “T”), as well as a broad understanding of other functions (the horizontal part of the “T”) that may not be their core expert competence area. (Mia Kolmodin describes this approach well.) For example, imagine an HR specialist who possesses deep expertise in talent acquisition and compensation management (the vertical part of the “T”). However, this professional also has a breadth of knowledge across various other HR domains, including employee development, HR analytics, and organizational design (the horizontal part of the “T”). T-shaped HR professionals effectively co-create comprehensive training programs with L&D that align with organizational strategic goals. This helps the team reach higher performance, leading to innovative, holistic solutions that adapt to evolving business needs and contribute to overall success.

Increased Innovation and Employee Engagement

A study by the Harvard Business Review revealed that companies that encourage innovation are 10% more profitable. Agile HR encourages experimentation and risk-taking, which can lead to increased innovation. When employees are given the freedom to try new things, they are more likely to come up with new ideas that can help the company grow. When employees are allowed to experiment and take risks, they are more likely to feel engaged and motivated in their work. They may feel like they are part of the decision-making process and that their ideas are valued. Engaged employees create a culture of appreciation and help identify new opportunities. They go on to test their ideas in a safe environment, leading to increased intrinsic motivation. Moreover, if employees make mistakes, they are celebrated rather than shamed. the employees as agile HR fosters continuous learning, they get the opportunity to develop their skills.

How to Apply the Agile Approach to HR

There is no one way to apply the agile approach to HR, but here are some steps that should be considered when applying the agile approach.

Step 1: Collaborate with Employees to Identify and Address Pain Points

  • Collaborate. Work with employees so you understand their needs and challenges.
  • Empower. Give employees a voice in the change process.
  • Involve. Make employees feel that they are part of the solution.

Step 2: Optimize and Standardize

  • Streamline. Make processes more efficient and effective.
  • Simplify. Reduce complexity and make processes easier to understand.
  • Standardize. Create consistent processes across the organization.

Step 3: Provide Training and Support

  • Educate. Teach employees about the new processes and procedures.
  • Coach. Help employees through the transition to the new way of working.
  • Support. Provide resources and assistance to employees as needed.

Step 4: Communicate Effectively Through Multiple Channels

  • Listen. Understand the concerns of employees and address them promptly.
  • Be transparent. Share information about the change process openly and honestly.
  • Be consistent. Communicate the same message consistently across all channels.

Step 5: Focus on Continuous Employee Development

  • Train. Provide employees with opportunities to learn new skills and knowledge.
  • Develop. Help employees grow and develop in their careers.
  • Support. Provide resources and assistance to employees as they pursue their professional development goals.

Step 6: Value All Employees

  • Respect. Treat all employees with respect, regardless of their role or title.
  • Acknowledge. Recognize the contributions of all employees.
  • Celebrate. Celebrate the successes of all employees.

Step 7: Benchmark Employee Experience

  • Compare. Compare your benefits and compensation packages to those of your competitors.
  • Adapt. Make changes to your benefits and compensation packages as needed to remain competitive.
  • Innovate. Look for new ways to attract and retain top talent.

Step 8: Execute, Evaluate, Improve. Repeat.

  • Implement. Put the change plan into action.
  • Assess. Evaluate the success of the change.
  • Improve. Make changes to the change plan as needed.
  • Repeat. Continue the cycle of change management to ensure that the organization is always adapting and improving.

Examples of Agile HR

Having discussed what Agile HR is and how it can be beneficial to a company, it is important to see how it can be applied in the workplace. Agile recruitment, compensation, and continuous performance management systems are all examples of how organizations can adopt Agile principles to improve their HR practices.

Agile Recruitment

Agile recruitment is a flexible and adaptable approach to hiring that allows organizations to quickly respond to changing market conditions. This can be done using a variety of methods.
  • Shorter hiring cycles. Agile recruitment shortens the time it takes to hire new employees by streamlining the process and eliminating unnecessary steps.
  • More frequent feedback. Agile recruitment provides more frequent feedback to candidates throughout the hiring process, which helps to keep them engaged and informed.
  • More collaboration. Agile recruitment involves more collaboration between hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates, which helps to ensure that the best possible candidates are selected.

Agile Compensation

Agile compensation is a more dynamic and responsive approach to remuneration that allows organizations to adjust salaries and benefits in real time to reflect changes in the market. This can be done by using a variety of methods.
  • Pay for performance. Agile compensation ties pay to performance, which encourages employees to be more productive and engaged.
  • Regular reviews. Agile compensation reviews pay and benefits offered on a regular basis to ensure that they are competitive in the market.
  • Flexible benefits. Agile compensation offers employees a variety of flexible benefits, such as paid time off, health insurance, and retirement savings plans.

Continuous Performance Management

Continuous performance management is a more ongoing and iterative approach to performance management that allows organizations to track employee performance and provide feedback on a regular basis. This can be done by using a variety of methods.
  • Regular check-ins. Continuous performance management involves frequent check-ins between managers and employees to discuss performance and goals.
  • Feedback loops. Continuous performance management uses feedback loops to ensure that employees are receiving regular feedback on their performance.
  • Goal setting. Continuous performance management involves setting goals for employees and tracking their progress towards those goals.
Vinay Chittuluru

Vinay Chittuluru

Vinay is a dedicated HR professional with over 3 years of experience in the field. He firmly believes in the intrinsic value of people as assets and treats them as an end rather than just a means to an end. Vinay's passion lies in creating a positive work environment where individuals can thrive and contribute their best. He possesses a strong understanding of HR practices and has a knack for building effective employee relations. Vinay is committed to fostering a culture of trust, respect, and growth within organizations. With his excellent interpersonal skills and a genuine interest in employee well-being, Vinay strives to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the individuals he supports.
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Employee Experience
Fractional HR
Global HR
HR Budget
HR Career Advice
HR Education
HR Effectiveness
HR Ethics
Human Capital Management (HCM)
Human Resource Management (HRM)
Human Resources (Intro to HR)
Outsourcing HR
People Operations
Strategic HR
Talent Management
Workforce Management
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