As companies evolve, the typical workplace culture is bound to shift, making it necessary for businesses to adopt newer ways to work. For instance, the rise of remote work, as well as multiple project requirements, meant that companies had to adopt seamless communication tools like Slack. Agile HR is no different! It came up in a similar manner— as a result of the new process adopted by software businesses.
Since more companies are working on an ad-hoc basis, work is less structured. The traditional process of planning and creating meticulous systems doesn’t stick anymore. Moreover, client demands have pressed businesses to start catering to a “ship fast, make changes later” philosophy. Now doing so requires better hiring, faster onboarding and definitely, effective documentation.
Simply put, the age-old HR methodologies are no longer effective. HRs need to adapt to the ever-changing workflows to be more agile, moving with the fast-paced times.
Advantages of Agile HR
According to a Deloitte survey, 94% of businesses responded that “agility and collaboration” are critical to their organization’s success. Agile work management has multiple advantages for the organization, employees, and even the client.
- Agile work management makes your work responsive to the client, ensuring high-quality outputs that require very little change.
- This form of an organization ensures employees work in small cycles, allowing the team to break down complex problems – which is a smart way to plan work together as a team.
- An agile workplace has a feedback system in place that allows suggestions from the team and ensures changes are made for an optimized environment.
- It ensures that everyone in the team works as a network, giving every team member a transparent view of the work for easier collaboration.
As the backbone of the company, it’s essential for the HR of the company to execute this new work structure within the team and transform the workplace into an agile organization.
But a truly agile HR is when a company can adapt their existing HR methodologies to the changing work environment.
How to make your HR methodologies agile
Every agile workplace differs according to the different priorities and strategies that the HR of the organization adopts.
Some companies like Culture Amp have retrospective meetings to allow conversations about not just the work being done but also the company culture. Others work in sprints of 2 weeks, and the end of every sprint, tasks are evaluated and assigned by priority.
Agile team members collaborate over work and even hand over their tasks to another member when they have other priorities or can’t make progress with the task at hand. The idea is to not stop and keep going!
But the only way to make this happen is by:
1. Empowering your employees to make decisions
If you’ve ever worked with a startup, you would have definitely heard about ‘taking ownership’. It means taking complete responsibility for the work you do and the result it yields – success or now. To be truly agile, you need to train your employees to make independent decisions and empower them to self-manage.
At the same time, ensure your team managers have the capacity and ability to onboard team members quickly and make them feel comfortable about taking responsibilities.
2. Setting up short-term work roadmaps
The goal of being agile is to move quickly. That’s why the HR needs to be able to implement a working system that enables the team to move quickly through the company roadmap to achieve a common goal, but one step at a time. Yes, we’re referring to creating scrums or kanban.
The lightweight and iterative framework for managing and developing projects this way allows you to enhance the output as you work through it. Contrary to how projects are completed in one go and then given feedback on, only to go back and repeat certain tasks.
A few smart tools to do this include Jira, Teamwork, Trello, and Asana. You can further integrate the tool you choose to the relevant Slack channels, for your team to be able to share updates automatically.
3. Allowing collaboration across different teams
Companies like Quintype allow employees to voice interest in different projects within other departments. The HR department of the publishing software has an open policy of allowing employees to join another team and contribute to projects outside their department.
This does a few things for the company. It builds camaraderie amidst employees and improves teamwork. It also helps get a fresh perspective on the project workflow and early identification of additional skills that may be required, and how another team’s member could bring that in.
4. Creating an early feedback system
This one’s applicable to how managers work with their teams, as well as how teams work with clients.
While not every organization will be open to shipping their projects early, some agile HRs have set up policies to allow employees to showcase projects before they are finished. This enables them to receive feedback on the project midway through it, and make the necessary changes on the go.
The same review process can be set up across different teams and for different employees based on what they do. It just helps them identify where they are going wrong and helps them do better work together.
5. Collect employee feedback on processes
Continuing on the importance of feedback, agile HR processes also let employees chime in with their inputs. Having an employee feedback system is crucial to ensure your organization is evolving while keeping in mind the changing expectations of the new-age workforce.
Be more open with team members and create an environment where suggestions are always welcome. By doing so you will be able to identify which processes are actually roadblocks to team members and find solutions to optimize them for higher productivity.
As agile workplaces are very subjective to each organization, it’s important to use feedback and suggestions to continually improve your systems set up at work and optimize them for a productive environment.
A few smart tools to implement a feedback loop in your HR processes are Officevibe, Tiny Pulse, Qualtrics and Weekdone. After all, even implementing feedback should be agile and that’s where technology comes in!
So, can HR really be agile?
The answer is, YES.
As organizations start to resemble living organisms, it is only fair to make HR agile to keep up with the changing times. Considering that HR is responsible for facilitating teams to do more, it is only obvious to make the move. It won’t just keep everyone in the team on the same page, but also ensure that the same pace is maintained across teams, at all levels.
Have you adopted agile methodologies in HR? If yes, what’s the first thing you did to make the processes more optimized? We’d love to get your inputs.