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The New Role of HR in the Agile Organization

As new technology brings more transparency into both the job market and the HR department, it has become essential for HR to take up new roles. In today’s world, HR can be a true agent of change – and a powerful driver of agility.

While HR’s role has historically been to communicate company guidelines and hire talent that dovetails with the company’s culture and budget, all of this changes when a company goes Agile. Because in an Agile organization, everything related to personnel is affected, from the way teams are organized, to the skills and training needed to build those teams, to how talent is managed within the organization.

In its new role, HR will help to build a new breed of organization – one designed around highly receptive and responsive talent. Agile organizations won’t depend on just a few decision-makers at the top to succeed. Rather, they will look to their entire workforce, including those within and beyond their borders, to proactively respond to change.

How technology is driving change in HR

The world of business is changing at a speed that’s leaving many HR departments behind. Not only are today’s employees and job seekers super-connected and impatient for quick results, but companies are putting pressure on HR departments to add value to the business and to serve as their strategic partners. As a result, HR departments must become more tech-savvy. They need to put systems in place that allow them to automate routine paperwork, handle growing volumes of data, and respond to evolving needs in a more agile manner.

Within this environment, the HR professional is a strategic partner, an employee advocate, and a mentor for change. The HR professionals who understand these roles are leading their companies in areas such as organization development, strategic placement of employees to serve business goals, and talent management and development.

Simply put, today’s organizations cannot afford to have an HR department that fails to adapt to change, improve agility, and contribute to enhanced company profitability.

Three areas where Agile will strongly impact HR

Overly complicated, redundant, or obsolete HR policies and procedures can hold back the move to Agile, especially in international companies with multiple far-flung offices. But by working transversally with other departments to create and implement better policies across the entire organization, HR can be a driver of innovation and agility. Here are the three areas where forward-thinking HR departments must concentrate their efforts to succeed in an Agile environment.

· New career paths and possibilities

When undergoing a transformation to Agile, many traditional roles within a company must be adjusted to allow for a more fluid workflow, while some new roles must be created and staffed with qualified candidates with Agile-specific certifications. It will be up to HR to assess the company’s talent pool and

see where existing team members can and should be moved, and to decide when new talent must be brought in to effectively fill the roles needed for Agile projects to be successfully completed.

· Updated job descriptions to attract top talent

Traditional job descriptions won’t appeal to the new employees required for the transition to Agile. Today’s job hunters are keyed into every social network and job search engine out there and won’t respond to banality. Their interest must be caught and retained. The job descriptions that HR must be amended to meet the expectations of the individual’s role in the new organization, knowing that in an Agile environment, employees must be more collaborative, flexible, and able to adjust their goals on a day-to-day basis. Job descriptions should keep definitions flexible, as quick mobility and employee empowerment is a large part of Agile success.

· Revamped training and development processes

HR managers have always been leaders in training and development for the organization. But as an organization moves to Agile, HR may have to revamp their training and development process to facilitate a wider-ranging “learning culture” while also fostering soft skills, personal development, and peer-to-peer learning and mentoring. In a truly Agile organization, HR managers are going to be playing lots of new roles for empowering employees. Perhaps they should really be called “people experts”.

These are but a few of the ways today’s HR communities are supporting – and driving – the move to Agile and company efficiency.

About the author

Sophie Huss is the Global Director of Talent Acquisition & Training at Arkadin HQ in Paris. She has many years of in-depth experience in strategic and operational Marketing & HR in international environments. Fond of new technologies and digital transformation, Sophie uses her strong competences in digital marketing and lead generation to drive Human Resources (HR) to the digital world. In Digital Recruitment, that means employer branding, lead generation techniques applied to talent acquisition, central in-house talent acquisition organization, hiring processes, and deploying new HR Internal Systems, such as an Applicant Tracking System. For Learning & Development, it means developing onboarding and learning paths by job families, and deploying a Learning Management System (LMS) and global training programs. Building the Digital Workplace around the three pillars of Lifestyle, Workspace, and Tech Services is central to her philosophy, in order to transform and streamline Arkadin’s candidate and employee experience and lifecycle.

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