Make sure HR is not stifling your organisational agility


Because HR should be a driver and not a hindrance to agility.

Much has been written about agility in the future world of work and business in general. Agile companies are meant to be more productive and collaborative.  But agile talent specialist and leadership coach Anja van Beek says there is a sense, among some, that HR can be stumbling black to an organisation’s agility. This is concerning given that HR is supposed to the champion of agility rather than a hindrance. 

“I often hear that, when it comes to adopting an agile approach, organisations face more resistance from HR than other parts of the business. This might be because HR teams often struggle to relinquish some of the control that they have been accustomed to via practices and policies that slow business processes down instead of speeding them up,” says Anja, who will be a speaker at HR Indaba Africa 2019.

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HR agility also requires an understanding of the marketplace of on-demand talent and goes beyond identifying the right talent to build a solution that works for specific business objectives. According to The Strategic Agility Institute, the rapidly accelerating growth of the Gig Economy represents one of the most significant and all-encompassing challenges faced by HR.  This is because, in order for organisations to become more agile, they will first and foremost have to demonstrate an ability to lead the change in culture, programs, processes, and policies originally designed for work completed by full-time employees to a new era when more of the work is being completed by a talent portfolio increasingly represented by contingent workers. 

But it is much easier said than done. Anja says the most important thing is to focus on changing the mindset within your HR team, which will require putting your HR team outside of their comfort zone. 

”The best advice is not to wait for the perfect plan before you start; rather experiment and learn as you go but always make your customers part of the solution. Consider experimenting in smaller teams before implementing it companywide. If you need inspiration, have a look at the Agile HR manifesto and the principles behind it,” she says. 

“Also, don’t try to copy what other companies are doing; have a look at what they have done but find and implement your signature ways or work based on your business, teams and customers’ need.”


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