Friday, April 14th 2023

Agile HR, Is It Possible?

measuring employee morale

HR Needs to be More Agile!

How much lead time did the CEO give the HR team to prepare the company for Covid? Many companies went in a matter of months from concerns about attrition and retention to having to implement layoffs. Generational differences in our employees and the complexity of understanding a historically diverse and dispersed workforce with increasingly different expectations means that the days of slow and methodical, long term planned HR is over. Just like every other department in today’s modern company, the HR team is being expected to become more agile.

Creating a truly agile HR group can be a challenging task, but it is essential for any organization that wants to stay competitive in today's fast-paced business environment. An agile HR group is one that is able to respond quickly and effectively to changing business needs, while also fostering a culture of continuous improvement and employee engagement. 

The Voice of the Employee is Always Changing

One of the key challenges in creating an agile HR group is understanding the needs and concerns of employees in realtime. This requires a shift away from traditional, top-down approaches to HR, towards a more bottom-up approach that prioritizes the "voice of the employee." By actively seeking out and incorporating employee feedback and suggestions, HR can ensure that its policies and programs align with the needs and goals of the workforce. Modern HR organizations are quickly realizing that the traditional survey will always be a part of this feedback loop, but that passive listening solution which are realtime, continuous and automatic need to be implemented to keep a finger on the pulse of the community.

How to Measure and When to Support Culture?

Another important aspect of creating an agile HR group is fostering a strong company culture. This means creating a shared sense of purpose and values among employees, as well as promoting open communication and collaboration. By building a culture of trust and mutual respect, HR can help to create a more engaged and motivated workforce that is better equipped to adapt to change. 

Training and awareness programs that emphasize the culture that the company wants to embrace have become standard practice. Why are we running these programs on a yearly basis instead of running these programs when data shows we need them? Most HR teams are in the habit of running programs on a regular cadence because they don’t know when they should run them. New HR technology to measure a company’s culture on a continuous basis are increasingly being used to measure the results of their programs over time which helps companies see the effectiveness of the programs and also to provides a better indicator of when the effectiveness of a program is wearing off and a booster program is needed to reemphasize cultural expectations. 

HR Technology is the First Step

One of the most effective ways to create an agile HR group is by leveraging technology. This can include the use of automated HR tools and software, such as online performance management systems, employee self-service portals, and recruitment platforms. These tools can help to streamline HR processes and make it easier for employees to access the information and resources they need. Additionally, AI can be integrated in the HR process to assist in decision making, by measuring employee morale and tracking the important issues on employees minds.

It is important for HR to continuously evaluate and improve its processes. This can include regularly reviewing HR policies and procedures to ensure they are up-to-date and effective, as well as conducting employee engagement surveys to gather feedback on the effectiveness of HR initiatives. By continuously monitoring and improving its processes, HR can ensure that it is always aligned with the changing needs of the organization.

Big Data Comes to HR

To power a truly agile process, HR teams are increasingly leveraging technology to gain insights from employees. But with the growing mountain of information generated, at what point can HR teams be overwhelmed with too much data? What is the proper cadence for reacting to insights to make a better workplace without overreacting or whipsawing the company from issue to issue and program to program? 

Having access to realtime and continuous data may be new to HR, but other departments have been dealing with the same issue for years. Has anyone ever complained that the sales team knows the exact revenue the company has generated month to date? Has anyone ever been concerned about being too accurate on inventory levels or the supply chain timelines? HR teams of the past spent a lot of time and effort gathering data on employees, but in an agile HR team powered by technology and especially AI, managers will shift their focus away from generating information to analyzing information and implement programs to take action on areas of opportunity and concern before issues become entrenched.

Creating a truly agile human resources group is essential for any organization that wants to stay competitive in today's fast-paced business environment. Key challenges include understanding the needs and concerns of employees in realtime, fostering a strong company culture, leveraging technology, and continuously evaluating and improving HR processes. By focusing on employee engagement, company culture, and technology integration, HR can create a more adaptable and responsive workforce that is better equipped to handle change and drive business success.

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