Benefits & Best Practices of Building an Agile HR in the Modern Workplace

Shefali Vasave | November 22, 2021 | 95 views

SHRM News
For many, the traditional bureaucratic HR department has become an obstacle to innovation. As a result, companies turn to agile HR teams to make their organizations more responsive and productive.

HR is increasingly seen as a driver of innovation. As a result, HR teams are becoming significantly crucial in how they use their skills in connecting with the workforce to understand the needs of their employees and how they can create organizational change to meet these needs.

“Global industry has been steadily moving in the direction of people-centricity for the duration of industry’s existence, but it’s only become a common philosophy in the last half-century or so. Now more than at any other time, a company is more likely to be thought of as an ecosystem than as a machine.”

- Julia Markish, Director of Advisory Services at Lattice

The agile methodology is focused on business outcomes rather than processes. When HR teams hire people, they are expected to balance a number of factors like filling skills gaps, ensuring low turnover and soft skills. Agile HR helps by integrating collaboration with decision-making, iterative development, and emphasis on collaboration. Thus, the Agile HR approach can be summed up as “HR for humans, not robots.”


What is Agile HR?

Agile is a process for deploying products and services. It was initially conceived as a software development methodology, but now it is applied to many other fields such as HR management. With Agile, companies can manage change more quickly. This process helps transform organizations into flexible entities that can meet the demands of the modern business world and reduce risk factors associated with new product development.

The HR department is one of the essential parts of any organization, given its role in hiring people, developing them, retaining them, and removing them when necessary too. The last couple of decades have seen significant changes in the way people work, which has led to increased pressure on HR.

Benefits of Developing an Agile HR Process

Agile HR is a way of running the HR department based on continuous improvement or continual learning. As an Agile HR practitioner, you are always looking for ways to improve the workflow.

Some of the business benefits of the agile approach are:
  • The ability to improve your processes in real-time according to changes in the business environment.
  • It lets you allocate resources more effectively.
  • It ensures that your workforce is utilized in a way that maximizes their potential and allows them to be more engaged with their work.
  • It helps reduce HR costs by reducing unwanted overtime and other expenses.

In addition, your organization can have some direct advantages of adopting agile HR practices. It provides a higher level of transparency in the company and helps divide work between employees efficiently. Some additional benefits on the work process include:
  • Improved communication
  • Team members working collaboratively towards a common goal
  • Increase in employee engagement rates as employees feel more invested in their jobs and company
  • Workflow becomes less tedious as employees focus on one thing at a time without distractions


How to Create an Agile HR Team at Your Organization?

The best way to create an agile HR team is to evaluate the critical stakeholders for the HR team. This includes individual contributors, managers, executives, and functional leaders. By evaluating these stakeholders, you can understand their needs and requirements for the HR team. From there, you can then design an organizational structure that accommodates both HR’s needs and those of other stakeholders involved in the process.

A great example of how this process works is through a company called Kahoot! They created an agile HR department by including all of their stakeholders in the decision-making process. In addition, Kahoot!’s HR leadership team has made sure to include all levels of management so they can contribute to discussions around hiring decisions, performance reviews, and compensation raises, among other things.


Best Practices for Recruiting the Right People into Agile HR Teams

A key factor of success for any agile team is the ability to recruit the right people. What does this entail? Team members should be agile enough to adapt quickly to changing requirements, flexible enough to work in a team environment, and committed enough to take responsibility for their work.

If you are looking for ways to improve your process, here are some lean practices you can follow:
  1. Create an environment that fosters curiosity.
  2. Encourage innovation through iterative experimentation.
  3. Provide resources that allow teams to explore ideas on their own time.
  4. Promote cross-functional collaboration between team members and departments.

It is also essential for HR managers to hire people who share the same values and their company. This will help them build strong relationships with team members and create trust among each other.

Organizations must have a clear understanding of their goals. They need to have a well-defined process in place for handling change and shift quickly when necessary. They should also recognize that they are not perfect and embrace a culture of learning.


Where Do You Go From Here?

Agile HR allows you to adapt to new demands and changes in the workforce. And what better time than now to go agile for your organization? More than an HR practice, it is an organizational transformation process that builds the competencies and capabilities of the whole organization to adapt to change.

Agile HR practices are usually about putting the right people in the right place at the right time. Organizations need to plan for both present and future needs while keeping in mind that it may be difficult, if not impossible, to predict with certainty where their workforce will be down the road.

Agile HR may well become a priority for many organizations. With the right approach, you can plan and stay one step ahead of new challenges that all growing businesses face.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does agile mean for HR?

Human resources management has evolved from a people department into a strategic partner for the organization. This means that HR needs to be able to work flexibly with different priorities and constantly shifting demands while also understanding how business strategy impacts their activities. In addition, agile HR needs to be able to adapt quickly enough for organizations’ changing needs.

What are the disadvantages of using agile?

With agile, HR teams can focus on continuous improvement and adaptability in a workplace. However, the main disadvantage of agile is that it may result in losing senior management’s control over projects.

How can HR use agile to their advantage?

Agile is a management framework that can be used to increase employee collaboration and communication. It has a set of principles designed to help teams deliver products in a more laid-back manner.
The main benefits of using an agile methodology for HR include:
  • Increased communication between employees and the ability to share ideas, feedback, and work
  • More efficient communication with other departments via digital channels such as Slack or JIRA.
  • Greater alignment with business goals as agile creates a more collaborative culture

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Tuscan Consulting is a bespoke HR consultancy based in Dubai, UAE. We offer strategic HR consulting services to clients to help them achieve their business objectives by leveraging on best practices and getting the best out of people.

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The Canadian-owned insurance co-operative is leveraging data and insights from its UKG solution to create dozens of easily accessible dashboards and reports, saving more than $300,000 in productivity improvements and system savings. Greenville County Schools, TTCU Federal Credit Union, and Community Healthcare System, for their innovative use of UKG Life-work Technology, in the Innovation Evangelist category. With UKG Wallet, all 11,000 employees at Greenville County Schools have early access to their earned wages as well as payroll cards, discounts, and financial wellness tools, providing an additional measure of financial stability. Community Healthcare System is using UKG Dimensions employee self-scheduling, which allows workers to select their preferred shifts — leading to greater autonomy, satisfaction, and overall engagement. And with UKG HR Service Delivery, authorized employees of TTCU Federal Credit Union can access documents from anywhere, dozens of manual tasks have been moved to a digital workflow, and the organization’s service desk is administering more than a dozen types of actions and requests. The results we’ve experienced with our full-suite UKG solution, in just one year, are simply remarkable, Not only have we gained significant efficiencies, but we’re also providing a more empowering and engaging experience for our employees in support of the important, people-centric mission we share with UKG,said Diana Valler, chief human resources officer at TravelBrands. Championing great workplaces and helping to create purposeful work through the use of innovative technology are central to who we are, Our purpose is to create meaningful experiences for organizations and their people, and we are proud of, and humbled by, the outstanding results UKG technology delivers every day to our award winners and all our customers across the globe,said Chris Todd, CEO at UKG. About UKG At UKG, our purpose is people. As strong believers in the power of culture and belonging as the secret to success, we champion great workplaces and build lifelong partnerships with our customers to show what’s possible when businesses invest in their people. Born from a historic merger that created one of the world’s leading HCM cloud companies, our Life-work Technology approach to HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions for all people helps more than 70,000 organizations around the globe and across every industry anticipate and adapt to their employees’ needs beyond just work.

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