The role of HR in Agile transformation

Agility in HR
Agility in HR

The role of HR in the transformation of the organization is significant. There are two aspects that we can consider and discuss: Agile for HR and HR for Agile.Agile HR deals with the application of agile principles, methods, and ways of thinking within its teams and projects.

At the global level (primarily in America and Europe) Agile HR is accepted in more and more organizations that are on the path of agile transformation. The implementation of this concept records success with the formation of a self-organizing multidisciplinary team. This kind of organization in which greater powers and responsibilities are given leads to greater employee satisfaction and consequently (a good voice is heard far and wide) attracts new talents.

Based on the successful Agile experience, the Agile HR manifesto was defined with six key values:

  • Collaborative networks over hierarchical structures
  • Transparency over secrecy
  • Adaptability over prescriptiveness
  • Inspiration and engagement over management and retention
  • Intrinsic motivation over extrinsic rewards
  • Ambition over obligation

The benefits of the Agile way of doing business are visible very quickly if the basic recommendations are applied in daily work. Agile HR enables experimentation, and step-by-step progress, tolerating mistakes and learning from them. Each team needs to find a framework that works for them, depending on the number of people, industry, culture, and business needs. Sometimes, different tools can be combined to constantly improve. The best approach should be originated through a cycle of testing and learning.

Agile HR does not have to work in an Agile organization to apply this operating model to modernize the profession.

But, if the entire organization is ready for an agile transformation, then the HR for the Agile aspect is applicable. In this case, HR helps and supports a complex business transition.

An agile business is a set of values and principles and includes various concepts, i.e. “framework” that can be chosen depending on the teams and needs. The most well-known and accepted is the Scrum framework, which helps teams generate value through adaptive solutions to complex problems. This framework had the greatest application in the IT industry, back in the eighties of the last century, but it is unstoppably expanding into other industries: finance, insurance, telecommunications, manufacturing industries, etc. The idea is simple: when you define a goal, you need a TEAM, which joins together to achieve the goal with each member contributing to the progress. It is important to note that teams must be able to self-organize and make independent decisions in their domain, and synchronize with other members at (usually) bi-weekly meetings called “sprints”, when a “review” or overview of achievements and planning for the next period.

Companies that had successfully implemented the concept of Agile business have specific organization charts. New positions and roles in the Agile company are Scrum Master and Product Owner (currently “top-in-demand” globally), which HR should include when planning a new organizational scheme.

However, the implementation of the “framework” is only part of the Agile transformation. What is often a deal-breaker is the culture of the organization. Behavior, leadership style, structure, and organizational processes require change and the application of comprehensive “change management” for this way of working to be successful. The key and critical element of the satisfactory application of agile practices is open communication, which HR advocates. It is known that HR helps employees to honestly (not just declaratively) feel supported, secure, and free to take initiatives so that they are motivated to express their full potential.

Since there are different types of organizations in Serbia, before deciding on Agile transformation, it is recommended to perform an assessment of the company climate and the maturity of the teams. The good practices certainly speak in favor of the Agile way of doing business, whether at the sector or corporate level. Start with a small test, learn and let the Agile way of doing business modernize you and move you forward.

Learn more about it at Agility in HR (ICP-AHR) certification training