The ABC of Agility in HR

We are facing a paradigm shift, and the Talent area cannot be left behind. Although a large part of traditional industries is still unaware of what agility is about, this new “wave” is here to stay. Who will be favored? Those who first join this new way of being and doing in organizations. Below we will give you 5 key tips to be an Agile HR professional.

Let’s start by defining “agility”

When thinking about “agility”, many professionals consider that being agile is synonymous with implementing methodologies such as KANBAN, Scrum, Design Thinking, among others. The first thing we need to know is that a collaborator can be agile without implementing any of these frameworks. Agile is synonymous with Adaptable and Flexible, Fast.

An “agile” mindset, on the other hand, implies adapting to a context with changing requirements, delivering value in an incremental and iterative way, with short periods of delivery and feedback.

The role HR

So what is the role of agile HR? We could define agile talent management as a management model that is based on the spirit of the Agile Manifesto, to provide the right solution at the right time in an adaptive way. This “mindset” implies getting in touch with the environment, discovering what the needs of our collaborators are and implementing people-centered solutions. The notion of “the right time” reminds us that in agility, arriving on time is better than arriving with the BEST solution.

We share our recommendations to be an agile HR professional

  1. Use key indicators (and show the results):

Another healthy habit that fosters agility in talent areas is using key performance indicators. Whether it is a one-person area or an area with sub-departments, agile Human Resources intends to make decisions based on data, that is to say, “data-driven”. When we achieve this in HR, we obtain greater reach with our proposals (as well as greater support from the company’s Management).

If you still don’t have your own management indicators, remember to start with those that are linked to the company’s purpose and strategic objectives, and ask yourself how HR contributes to them.

  1. Design experiences centered on the collaborator:

One of the principles of agility is the focus on people. In the experience economy, the so-called Employee Experience is of vital importance. Designing HR policies with a focus on experiences implies:

  • Knowing your internal client: how is the staff made up? What characteristics do they share? Can you group them under different archetypes?
  • Empathizing: Using empathy maps, you can find out what the desires, concerns, and efforts of each of your audiences are.
  • Development: Experiences designed with a focus on the internal client have a greater impact on their performance and, therefore, on their organizational commitment.
  1. Encourage new styles of teamwork

At the level of practices and behaviors, the agile mindset invites us to generate new work teams: no longer in “silos” or by area, as classical management indicates, but interdisciplinary and self-organized. Teams that are able to define how they will achieve their objectives are more engaged with their work. In addition, self-organized teams promote self-assignment of tasks, instead of a “push” system where the distribution of work depends on the leader.

When it comes to implementing self-organized teams, the SCRUM framework is one of the most used in organizations. Not only because of its adaptability but also due to its ability to scale to great levels.

  1. Learn about new methodologies and tools:

Recent research shows that the main role of agile talent areas is to become referents and examples of the agile mindset. This implies being in a permanent state of learning. Just to mention some of the skills that an agile expert needs to have, we can mention:

  • At a business level: Change management, KPIs, OKR (objective key results), Organizational Design, Project Management.
  • Culture and behavior: Emotional Intelligence, Analysis and problem solving, Facilitation, Networking.
  • At the level of emerging trends: Design Thinking, Google Design Sprint, Scrum, Kanban, and Neurosciences.
  1. Introduce Psychological Safety to the team:

Psychological safety is one of the key factors in high-performance teams. It consists of creating an environment where mistakes are accepted as part of the learning process. Although it is easy to understand the concept and how it positively impacts agile teams, it is very costly to implement. Organizations are often ruled by efficiency mechanisms that do not favor the investment of time in failing and learning. In fact, such “learn by doing” mentality is one of the qualities that great companies miss when they are no longer a startup.

If you have come this far, I am convinced that you are very interested in implementing these skills in your work team. Remember that the agile Mindset is the main ingredient to generate a workspace where agile methodologies can take root and grow.

Lic. Marcelo Suárez
CEO of Consultora Gestal
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