Agile Thinking: HR Professionals Poised to Lead Change

August 25, 2016

Being agile means becoming more flexible with the way you work. That concept is not limited to the tech world; HR professionals can also lead the charge.

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The concept of the agile, nimble business began in the tech startup world, but businesses across the country are seeing the benefits of entrepreneurial thinking. Human resources managers are poised to help their companies find ways to allow employees to become flexible problem-solvers.

“HR professionals of the future will be dedicated to helping their organizations fluidly find and mobilize resources around business issues … and motivate people to adapt to change,” according to Hassan Choughari - FCIPD. “To achieve this, HR organizations will need to restructure their mission and mandate, reshape roles and responsibilities within HR, redefine business and talent management practices and support enabling technology platforms.”

Human resources professionals understand the importance of a flexible workforce, according to OnRec, citing research from Orion Partners.

“Sixty-seven percent of HR professionals describing agility as ‘business critical’ in a poll of senior practitioners representing companies employing almost 3,000,000 people undertaken as part of the report,” according to OnRec. “The findings also show the majority of HR professionals believe the importance of organizational agility is set to increase—87 percent of respondents believed this was the case.”

However, the research found the HR professionals didn’t feel they were yet helping. “None of the senior HR professionals polled rated their organizations as highly effective at building versatile leaders—with 75 percent believing they were no more than moderately effective in this area,” according to OnRec.

So what can HR pros do to change this?

“They must adapt to change, have the guts to upend outmoded systems and behaviors, innovate in new directions, continually learn and explore and foster a culture of collaboration to engage for change,” writes Barbara Trautlein for Human Capital Institute.

Trautlein encourages HR professionals to ask themselves questions about their ability to do so. A few examples include:

“When is the last time we proactively facilitated a courageous conversation to challenge the status quo and bravely question ‘That’s just how we do things’? Are we constantly experimenting, trying and testing new strategies and processes to achieve our goals? “Do we facilitate meaningful collaboration up, down and across the organization, to confront traditional ways of working and spearhead the new?”

And, HR professionals can’t do it alone. The entire culture of companies must shift.

“HR is not and should not be the sole owner of these challenges as they are primarily business challenges,” writes Jane Chester for Raconteur, also citing Orion Partners’ research. “Perhaps this is still at the heart of the issue that creating and driving shared ownership of the people agenda is the trick that HR has yet to pull off.”

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