Agile used to be just for software developers, but when their method spread and people heard how well it was working, more industries and teams started adopting the Agile framework.
The Human Resources department (or HR for short) takes on the hiring, firing, and relations between employees within large organizations. They can also sometimes deal with payroll and have other responsibilities.
Employees are the backbone of any company. This is why HR is extremely important, and this is why HR teams can take on an Agile framework if they think it will work for them.
Read more about the Agile methodology in our blog “How Agile Are You? Defining and Becoming Agile”
HR teams do this by adapting and broadening their own Agile framework from a traditional software development Agile framework. This is essential because HR teams often have longer work cycles (annually or quarterly) (Source).
“Spreading Agile beyond software makes sense if your organization operates in a situation where you need to deal with uncertainty and need to be able to learn and adapt quickly in order to be more effective.” – (Source)
HR deals with uncertainty when it comes to employees and team members leaving unexpectedly or on short notice, which makes Agile a good method to implement in order to keep on top of ever-changing processes. Agile requires teams to work quickly and consistently review what they are doing, something that HR can benefit from once it is scaled.
“In an agile organization, HR needs to provide the same services it’s always provided — hiring, professional development, performance management — but in ways that are responsive to the ongoing changes in the culture and work style of the organization.” – (Source)
Before implementing Agile in an HR department of any organization, it’s best to make sure everyone on the team agrees with this new way of working. If they aren’t sure about using it, visit and talk to other Agile organizations to see how they work. You can slowly start to incorporate Agile practices into the work process and see who works well with the process and who doesn’t (Source).
How to Use Agile with HR
The Agile process can be used with HR teams in several ways:
Retrospectives and Daily Standup Meetings
Just like any Agile team, Retrospective meetings should be held often. These are meetings are held after the iteration process is complete (or whenever work cycles or periods of time have elapsed). In the Retrospective meeting, teams normally go over what worked for them during that time and what didn’t.
For HR teams, specifically using Retrospective meetings can help them to review their current hiring and firing processes (using recent or specific cases). They can decide what processes to move forward with and what to change. HR teams can also review how their training processes are developing, and address any other topics they may need to discuss.
Read more about Retrospectives in our blog post “Your Guide to Retrospective Meetings (+ How Stormboard Can Help!)”
Another common Agile meeting type is the Daily Standup meeting. HR teams can use this type of meeting in conjunction with the Retrospective or instead of the Retrospective, even as a more general/casual everyday meeting.
A Daily Standup meeting involves teams taking no more than fifteen minutes every day (or every week) to meet. The team stands up to increase efficiency and discuss what they have already done in their current work cycle, what they need to get done now, and what they will be working on soon.
The Hiring Process/Scouting for Talent
Because one of the main jobs of HR professionals is looking for new hires, it is important that they incorporate Agile into their hiring practices. An HR employee will look for new hires when a job a position needs to be filled.
With Agile, HR employees will instead be consistently looking for potential hires in case they need to contact them. Being proactive about hiring will make it easier to find talented individuals when the need arises. This takes the stress off of the HR professional to find someone in a shorter amount of time.
“Do not place job postings concerning the instantaneous needs, hunt continuously for talents.” (Source)
An Agile approach to hiring helps keep options open. It allows HR professionals to be aware of what kind of candidates are in the job market. In addition to looking for new hires, Agile HR professionals need to be as open-minded when considering candidates. Don’t be afraid to contact those who might not have the exact resume you’re looking for!
“Recruiting a super intelligent and skilled professional is not enough, you also need to look for people who are willing to work as a team member, people who are open to changes and can adapt to changing team dynamics” – (Source)
Many HR professionals are in charge of employee training. Training will not change unless the company decides it. This can include things such as the technology they use across the company.
HR teams who want to practice Agile need must consistently review their training processes. Agile companies are proactive when altering these training processes because training is essential to properly prepare employees for their jobs.
Training becomes outdated if it is not being consistently being looked at. Therefore, HR should have a process they follow, but they need to recognize when things aren’t working. Staying up to date and modern and keeping employees’ best interests in mind is very important.
Agility is all about keeping on top, or ahead, of the work process. In the majority of organizations, employees come to HR with concerns, issues, or feedback. The feedback can be regarding themselves, other employees, management, or the company in general.
Agile HR teams regularly keep up with employee feedback and deal with any urgent issues as soon as they can.
Employee satisfaction is important! Keeping employees happy and preventing anyone from resigning or being unhappy in their position is the goal.
Just like the hiring process and training procedure review, monitoring employee feedback needs to be consistent as well.
Any industry that implements Agile has to have continual learning. No one wants to become stagnant, which is why Agility requires learning, growing, and changing as often as possible.
Because Agile is truly a team methodology, the whole HR team must agree to implement it in their workplace. If not, it won’t be as seamless of a transition.
There are many forms of Agile to work with, and some might be too specific for HR teams — and that’s okay. It’s all about the Agile mindset! If HR teams want to incorporate the Agile way of thinking into their processes, it will elevate the way they work. Just as important, it will elevate how they interact with their employees.
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