What is Agile HR? - EmployeeConnect HRIS
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Agile HR

What is Agile HR?

In today’s rapidly changing workplace, HR professionals are exploring the prospect of applying the Agile Methodologies to the people management processes. Since its inception in the year 2001 by a small group of software professionals, the agile software movement has emerged as one of the most popular approaches, with approx 94% of software companies claiming to follow the agile methodology.

The success of agile methodology lies in the fact that it promotes faster, iterative, cost-effective, and more customer-centric software. Hence, it garnered attention in almost every industry such as accounting, manufacturing, and marketing to name a few. Similarly, agile HR is slowly gaining popularity as an effective means of keeping the organisation aligned with today’s talent requirements and to stay on trend.

The Story of Agile HR

In 2012, during a Deloitte annual HR conference, Josh Bersin managed to draw people’s attention specifically towards the fact as to how the HR function can contribute towards building an agile workplace. According to Bersin, the principles of Agile Methodology can aid in the process of continuous learning, having transparent HR processes using which organisations can develop, attract, and engage talent efficiently, under continuous talent acquisition.

Global markets are characterised by the VUCA vortex. The term VUCA vortex was first used by the military in the United States. It is used to describe volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) that characterise the present day global market scenario. As per the VUCA vortex, it is imperative for businesses to be prompt in response and quick on their feet, as the market scenario is subject to frequent and unexpected changes. If business plans are not flexible and hierarchies are rigid, they would not work in the VUCA vortex, as such characteristics will only end up wasting time, preventing innovation, and restricting organisations from taking advantage of new opportunities.

When agile principles are applied to the HR function, it promotes a change of focus from imposing standards and controls to fostering enhanced innovation and collaboration. Let’s take a look at a comparative analysis of traditional HR versus agile HR to figure out how agile methodologies can influence key areas of HR.

Traditional HR…

Follows a remedial approach to learning

According to traditional HR, when an employee underperforms in their present role, or prepare for an upcoming new role, they are assigned to  training that will help them to achieve a specific level of performance

Stuck in a recruitment mindset

As per traditional HR, as soon as a job becomes available, they begin the search for candidates to fill the position. As soon as they find the best candidate, the talent acquisition process ends then and there.

Opaque talent processes

As per traditional HR, the telent aquisition and development processes  are inaccessible and are considered proprietary IP.

Built around siloed objectives

Traditional HR jobs are considered to be distinct entities within a complex system. It believed that job requirements pertain to specific workplace tasks.

Known for implementing systems

Traditional HR carefully researches, resource, and deploy large scale technology systems over a duration of many months or years.

Focuses on record keeping

Traditional HR relies on the files of employees and the records of HR initiatives to track the progress of employees and make a note of issues. They measure the success of HR based on the completeness of the documentation of records at their end.

Agile HR…

Adopts a continuous learning environment

According to Agile HR, a multitude of opportunities are provided to employees so that they can learn and stretch their limits independent of any specific goal about their job.

Offers transparent access to talent information

Agile HR facilitates talent management which empowers employees to be in charge of their development. Employees are given equal scope to be active participants in talent acquisition, development, and evaluation processes.

Believes in continuous talent acquisition

Agile HR continually invests in the employer brand and continuously cultivate the present ongoing talent relationships across various channels.

Has a unified mission and values

All positions are directly aligned with the mission, vision, and values of the organisation. It stresses the need for all the employees to comprehend how their on-job performance supports these elements regarding the overall organisational culture.

Known for piloting small initiatives

Agile HR is known for testing small-scale initiatives within a business unit or a specific team. They gather early feedback from employees to figure out if the pilot initiative needs to be expanded or does it need to be scrapped altogether.

Focuses on employee engagement

Agile HR focuses on employee engagement, across all engagement pillars, to encourage collaboration and enhance the level of self-motivation of employees. It measures HR success in terms of employee retention, innovation, level of employee satisfaction, and overall organisational trust and goodwill.

Once Agile HR is embraced, the HR function to create a more flexible organisation with the required amount of openness and agility needed to safeguard against the realities VUCA vortex. However, this transition from traditional HR to Agile HR is indeed a significant huge change. Before implementing Agile HR, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Do you have the organisational culture that believes in prioritising employee engagement and has complete trust in its employees?
  • Is your HR department that is prepared to give up control.
  • Does your workforce believes in taking more responsibilities and it also needs the organisation to support them when they do so.
  • Are you digitally ready with HR tech such as employee-centric HRIS  with development, goal setting & engagement systems, easily accessible by all employees anytime anywhere?
Byron Conway

Content Coordinator at EmployeeConnect