1.07.2013

What it Takes to be an AGILE HR Org

Agile software development isn't a new concept. It's a methodology that's used by many engineering teams to enhance software applications through a continuous, iterative and collaborative development process. There are four main values to agile development; adaptability, transparency, simplicity, and unity.

Development teams that embrace agile development methodologies, understand that all the business requirements can't be fully documented, some aren't even unknown at the start, so they are heavily focused on small, incremental changes overtime (there isn't really an end date).

With all the organizations that are developing software and working in "agile" environments, it's no surprise, the leaders of many of these organizations see how this way of thinking can be applied across the entire organization. It's a process that's lean, and not limited to product development, many groups can reap the benefits of agile processes.

For HR, it may not seem intuitive to focus on the short-term or making small improvements, however, where many organizations fail is delivering on their culture, which in tern is how they deliver on their brand, arguably, this is because, these organizations traditionally want to plan for months, sometimes years to make massive changes–but, what tends to happen is that those changes are finally implemented, either too late, or with so much complexity, that they are not effective, or you need another year to implement a "change management process" to support the big initiatives you just launched. Yikes.

Today, organizations struggle to find the best talent, and once they do, they need to retain them, this is what makes them a competitive brand. That takes more than perks. Being agile, turns the HR organization into an aware, responsive organization that evolves the company and culture on a daily basis.

Next time you do your annual engagement survey, wouldn't it be great for employees to see change just weeks later? That's what an agile HR org can do. Your employees need to be agile to respond to customer needs, and you need to be agile enough to respond to employee needs, when they need them, not two years later.

What's the first step to becoming agile?

First you need to know where you stand. Being agile is first about having data, and a deeper understand of where you are and how different decisions affect employees. There are many ways to collect data on your employees. Surveys for example can be a great way–yearly, weekly, group to group–there's no limitation now to how you leverage surveys to gather data. Once you have the data, it's easier to identify what truly needs to change, and be improved to empower employees to deliver on your brand more effectively.

Agile is about being adaptable, flexible, and having the ability to make change, regularly.

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