What Agile Development Means to HR

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 5:59PM

What are the most critical topics in human capital management that should be on your radar? Topic #1: A More Agile HR.

Agile development has been a trending topic in the world of IT software development for several years, pushing the envelope with development teams to remove wasted time in the development cycle and optimize the ability to get solutions to market faster. These Agile organizations are defined by speed, deftness and flexibility.

So now you’re thinking, what does this have to do with HR metrics and planning?

The global pool of top talent is shrinking. As HR professionals, we face this reality every day as we work hard to retain employees and keep the competition at bay, while at the same time looking for ways to grow our business.  And if there’s one thing that’s constant in today’s business reality, it’s change. Maintaining the talent that can support this change and lead our organization to bigger and better opportunities is, well, a challenge to say the least.

Borrowing this business discipline from manufacturing and others, an Agile approach to talent management can help us to be more strategic with our workforce planning where HR has a direct impact to the organization’s bottom line. By viewing our talent management processes as a system of interrelated parts, much like software or supply chain development, we can begin to identify weaknesses in the system that need to be fixed.

Applying these few simple strategies can help you take significant steps toward an Agile HR environment:

  1. Team communications.  No doubt that Agile is about process, but it’s also transparency.  An Agile HR team provides the visibility of key information at every level of an organization. With access to the right data, line level to C-Suite executives can make critical decisions that support overall business goals. This transparency is key to organizational alignment.
  2. Perpetual state of testing. A cornerstone of Agile development is continuous testing. In our organizational world, this translates to continuous development of HR processes and technology that can help you to access the right HR metrics.
  3. Fast training and adaptation. In this fluid environment, an Agile team is one that can adapt to change. This adaptability means being able to test new organizational structures and apply talent in different areas that support the changing business models and processes.
  4. Performance feedback. Responding to change, as opposed to simply following a plan, is critical step in the Agile process. It’s the action you take on this feedback that helps to optimize your programs and your talent pool to the highest level of performance.

An Agile approach to strategic hr metrics and planning can be a very important competitive strategy as your organization readies to take advantage of growth opportunities.

<<Read the full list of "13 Critical HCM Topics for 2013" here>>