Agile manifesto in 2001 was the outcome of 10 years of work by 17 thinkers put together. Agile focuses on development of software in an incremental way rather than doing it all at once. It encourages adaptive planning, continuous improvement and responding to change. Companies happily opted for the agile model as it gave them the opportunity to revisit the work throughout the life cycle of a project, which helped in making the right changes to optimize the product as per the market developments. This approach to development reduces both cost and time significantly.
Taking inspiration from the Agile mode of software development, business disciplines like Marketing and Finance have also started to adopt an agile model. The idea is to adapt to the continuously changing market and take necessary measures within time to maintain the efficiency. As all other departments in the organization are going Agile, it seems inevitable for HR to follow.
What does it mean for HR to be agile?
HR function in a company is responsible for recruitment, selection, compensation & benefits, training, payroll, talent management, performance appraisal etc. When we talk about agile HR, it means that HR function should be able to respond more quickly and efficiently to changing business scenarios, working conditions and employee expectations. Recruitment team should be efficient enough to handle bulk hiring as well as super niche hiring as and when required. Training team should be equipped with effective ways to cross train people on need basis. Compensation & benefits team should be able make necessary changes in the compensation structure as per changing market scenario. This may go on for other HR disciplines.
What are the prerequisites for Human Resources to move towards agility?
- Knowledge of Industry Trends – An HR professional should be aware of the recent and upcoming trends in the industry to formulate strategies to minimize any negative impact and to take advantage of an upcoming opportunity. Regular connect with the business is critical to achieve this.
- Decentralization – Transferring authority for various tasks will result in empowerment and therefore, quick action.
- Efficient HRMS – HR Management System in an organization should be capable of accommodating the changes in HR processes in real time to make HR function really agile.
- Keep Things Simple – Don’t let the processes become hindrances. Processes are formed to decrease Turn Around Time (TAT).
- Incorporate Analytics – Always be ready with the numbers: Headcount, Skills available, Attrition rate, Cost per hire, Average salary, Average age, Movements, Promotions etc. Numbers can be deceiving. Always remember numbers are useless without a context.
- HR Performance Measures – Measuring HR performance is a challenging task as most of the KPIs are subjective in nature. But companies are rigorously working towards making it a number game. A balanced approach could be the way out and KPIs should be in alignment with the business goals.
The transition from a traditional to an Agile HR is the need of the hour and organizations are realizing the same.Would love to hear your views on “How can the transition from traditional to Agile HR become a reality?”
About Kapil Kumar
Kapil Kumar has over 4 years of experience and has worked with organizations like Tata Consultancy Services, EXL Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. & Bharti Infratel Limited. Kapil holds a Masters Degree in HR & OD from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi.