3 Simple Steps to a more Agile HR


So you know the methodologies or models to achieve Agility in your HR processes. But it is not an easy feat. Furthermore, Agile is being applied to non-IT areas increasingly and more HR professionals still hope to capture the benefits such as improved alignment to organizational priorities and rapid changes, and more relevant support. But as we have already seen in the previous blogs, the challenge is where to start and how to start. In a Gartner survey of 253 HR leaders, 27% say that they are indeed making changes to their structure and processes to be more Agile. So to answer those important questions, Gartner themselves have postulated three Agile HR success factors based on key Agile principles.


Create Room for Strategic Thinkers to Solve Customer Problems

The traditional methods of organizing structures and processes often result in the creation of silos across major workstreams, poor coordination between teams about common challenges, and difficulty in prioritizing between day-to-day goals and strategic goals. This was reflected in a 2019 Gartner study, again, that showed less than 40% of HR professionals believed that their functions separate strategic work from transactional activities. Even though the intent is to focus on strategy, the current structures do not allow for this. This is the most important hurdle in today’s HR models. To successfully achieve agility, HR Managers must provide the space and time required for strategic thinkers to create effective solutions for important client problems while minimizing, if not eliminating, the need for these employees to spend time on operational tasks.


Implement a Proactive and Client Sensitive HR Model

Another Gartner study shows that only 29% of employees believe that their HR understands their needs and expectations. An effectively operating Agile HR model has to include provisions to identify the needs of the employees and areas where they can have the maximum impact and correct course if needed. This is carried out through business partners who provide strategic support in understanding the employee needs and expectations who will, in turn, be sensitive towards the clients. HR leaders should rethink HR structures to enable their teams to identify the shifts in customer needs that determine where the function will have the most strategic impact.


Manage Work like an Investment Portfolio and not have a set Agenda

The traditional approach to planning in HR consists of regular meetings and conversations to discuss strategy and make decisions. But this model can come off as bureaucratic and slow and makes it challenging to change processes. According to a 2020 Gartner Agile HR Function Survey, only one-third of HR leaders agree that projects are suspended or ceased if they no longer seem strategic or valuable. Furthermore, only 34% of HR Personnel agreed that resources are reallocated when there is a work of higher priority. Hence, HR leaders must strive to be more flexible and be prepared to reevaluate priorities when required rather than building an Agile HR with set agenda. This ensures that the tasks that are of higher priority get focus rather than wasting time and resources on lower priority work.


“Incorporating an agile approach enables HR leaders to ensure their functions provide value and drive results and helps HR keep up with agile transformations occurring throughout the rest of the business,” says Mark Whittle, Vice President, Advisory, Gartner.