Humanizing Business62

HR’s Role in Agile Transformation

To compete and/or be relevant in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, organisations must discover and implement new ways of working.

Myles Hopkins

May 2, 2019


To compete and/or be relevant in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, organisations must discover and implement new ways of working. They need to develop products/services that their customers/constituents desire, and they need to decrease the time it takes to get these products/ services delivered. The way that most organisations are achieving this and leading their sectors is by becoming more Agile.

The Agile movement began in 2001 and has largely been an IT driven intervention but this is not sustainable. When you look at the various Agile frameworks, it is very evident that the greatest contributor (or barrier) to Agile transformation will be educating and enabling the people and leaders within these organisations. This requires a shift to a Lean-Agile Mindset and culture throughout the organisation.

The Human Resources departments in these organisations are accountable for the people agenda and will play a key and central role in transforming and enabling the organisation to embrace agility. The traditional HR strategies, tactics, policies and practices are outdated and mainly transactional. The HR fraternity has an opportunity to become truly strategic through investigating, understanding and implementing an Agile HR and Talent framework.

HR’s Role in Agile Transformation
The changing dynamics with an Agile approach require Human Resources to re-examine the way they support and enable the organization – many of these changes will require real paradigm shifts e.g.:

  • Moving from a support department to an enabler of the Agile transformation roadmap in collaboration with executives
  • Moving from being on the fringes of change and transformation to crafting and driving a culture and environment that enables agility
  • Moving towards creating Agile competence and capability in the organisation through attracting and retaining qualified Agilists
  • Moving from focusing on individuals to focusing on teams
  • Moving from attracting and retaining functional talent to attracting and retaining t-shaped talent
  • Moving from hierarchical, fixed organisation structures to team-based, networked and flexible organisation structures
  • Moving from task-based role profiles to creating adaptable role descriptors that focus on Agile capabilities and cultural fit
  • Moving from a siloed skills framework to a cross-functional framework
  • Moving from motivating employees extrinsically to leaning more towards intrinsic motivators
  • Moving from rewarding employees individually to rewarding teams
  • Moving from annual individual performance appraisals to continuous team-based feedback
  • Moving from organisation driven career paths to employee driven career mosaics
  • Moving from one-size-fits-all employee development plans to employee and team driven development paths that embed and sustain the transformation to Agile

HR has continuously demanded a seat at the executive table; through embracing and enabling Agile ways of working in their organisations, HR can actually “set the table”. We have curated a great set of resources to help you discover and embed this exciting challenge.

As a footnote, the HR department can apply and embed Agile in their department even if the rest of the organisation is not ready for or even thinking about Agile yet. This will ensure that you can service your leaders, managers and employees in a quicker way with solutions that are focused on the challenges that they face daily.

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