Why agile HR is not a quick fix


Talent strategist Anja van Beek unpacks some of the myths surrounding agile HR.

Agile HR has gained popularity in recent years as a modern approach to managing human resources. However, despite its growing popularity, there are still many misconceptions surrounding this approach.

Here are three of the most common misconceptions about agile HR and why they are not true.

Misconception 1: Agile is only for IT and development teams

One of the most pervasive myths about agile is that it’s only applicable to IT and development teams. However, this is not true. Agile values, principles and practices can be applied to any function within a business.
The principles of agile such as daily collaboration, satisfying the customer, and focus on continuous improvement, can be applied to any team or function to improve performance and productivity. To build on these the agile people team has introduced principles specifically for the HR community. A few to highlight are self-leadership, transparency, purpose and meaning, boundary spanning and empowerment.
In fact, the agile way of work has been successfully implemented in marketing, finance, HR, and sales teams, among others. The key is to understand the principles of Agile and adapt them to your team’s specific needs and context.

Misconception 2: Psychological safety isn’t just about warm and fuzzy

Psychological safety is a critical aspect of agile HR. A safe and inclusive environment is essential for agile ways of working to be effective. However, psychological safety is not about creating a warm and fuzzy atmosphere.
It is about creating an environment where people feel safe to speak up, challenge assumptions and be their true selves, and where we hold each other accountable. This means creating a culture of trust and respect, where everyone’s opinions are valued and considered, and they still have individual accountability.
Psychological safety is not a feel-good concept. It is not tolerance for incompetence. It is a fundamental element of high-performing teams.
When team members feel safe to speak their minds and express their opinions, they are more likely to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas. This leads to better decision-making, increased innovation, and improved performance.

Misconception 3: Agile is a quick fix

Another common myth about agile HR is that it is a quick fix. “Let’s just do it quickly” – may have been said in leadership meetings.
Agile HR is not a one-time solution or a quick fix for a problem. It is a transformational journey that requires a significant shift in mindset and culture. Agile HR requires ongoing effort and commitment to ensure its success. It is not something that can be implemented overnight, and it requires constant adaptation and improvement.
Agile HR is not just about implementing new processes and tools. It requires a fundamental shift in how teams work together and how they approach problem-solving. This requires a significant investment of time, effort, and resources, but the rewards are well worth it.

Final words

Agile is a powerful approach that can be applied to any function within the business. However, it requires a deep understanding of its principles and a commitment to ongoing improvement.

By dispelling these three common misconceptions, we can better understand the true value of agile in HR and how it can transform businesses for the better. Whether you’re in IT, marketing, HR, finance, or any other function, an agile mindset – the values and principles – can guide your team to be more adaptive, work more effectively and achieve better results.


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