What does ‘agility’ mean for HR?
In a 2017 Global Deloitte survey, over 90% of those surveyed reported that both ‘agility’ and ‘collaboration’ where critical to an organizations success. But what does agility mean in today’s professional world. Agility is something that organizations don’t speak of semantically. Agility in organizational context is not binary. You don’t have ‘it’. You don’t not have ‘it. Agility can now be thought of as a best practice technique, which helps to transform the way we work for the better.
The dictionary definition of agility is:
‘the ability to move quickly, or the ability to think and understand quickly’
Instead, agility for HR and for the wider workplace, means a multitude of things. There’s a danger of agility becoming the next buzzword in conversation, as opposed to an effective tool. Here’s what it means to us.
Agility means the ability to respond quickly and effectively to challenges
Agility in HR refers, in part, to the ability of HR to respond quickly and effectively to changes and challenges regarding business requirements and updates, workplace disruption and employee expectations.
Agility means the ability to adapt and evolve people and processes
Agility demands that HR is elevated to a level where it can meet the demands of a rapidly evolving world. HR needs to be agile in order to support and develop individual, strategic and organizational agility. It is about being able to drive the organization forward via aligning people and processes.
Agility means having an organization which symbolizes a fluid network
Those who exhibit agility as an organization can be recognized as a fluid network. Now this sounds like classic jargon but let me explain. In a fluid network, everyone recognizes that they are collaborating and trying to achieve a shared, common goal. This permeates through all levels of the organization, regardless of seniority. It also requires managers and senior leaders to trust their employees. To trust their team to take initiative, to come up with solutions and to interact effectively with other team members. Agility demands fluidity and trust.
Agility means anticipating change and challenges
There are a range of sub tools to help you identify issues that may or do need addressing. Pulse surveys, data analytics, performance tracking, sentiment analysis, feedback and social listening to name a few. Putting processes and tools in place makes it particularly easy to identify potential, upcoming or urgent issues that need to be addressed.
Make sure that change and challenges are not viewed as difficulties, but they should be expected and managed. To take it even further, some changes and challenges represent an opportunity for organizations to disrupt the status quo for the better.