2020 was a year of tremendous change around everything in our lives. It seems that nothing is the same as it was before. The way we shop, order food, and even see our loved ones has shifted permanently.
One of the most dramatic shifts in our society happened in the world of business, more specifically within HR divisions. The status quo around professional America has shifted, and a new way of working has taken over. Gone are the days of an hour commute both ways to get to the office and a 40-hour work week.
Perhaps the most prominent shift in the people business over the past year has been the transition from mandatory time in office to being able to work from home flexibly. America’s companies no longer have the leverage to make their employees work in an office space.
The shift to at-home work has proven to be just as effective as in-office work, if not more effective. Distractions are limited, and workers are spending more time at their computers at home. The movement also contributes to the company’s bottom line due to fewer resources being spent on office supplies, office rent, expensed lunches, etc. Companies that seamlessly transitioned to a virtual workforce have greatly benefitted.
Emerging Workforce Needs & Goals
Over the past year, our workforce has had time to be more introspective regarding their career aspirations vs. where they are currently at. Short-term aspirations such as working in a new and high-tech office building have been eliminated, and workers are focusing on more tangible goals such as certifications or better pay and benefits.
If the workers’ needs and goals are not fully aligned with the employers, then that employee has full liberty to switch jobs that better meet their demands. If companies do not change their priorities to match the mass of their employees, then they will succumb to the great resignation.
Applying Agile Principles
How do we apply Agile principles to the HR division to stay top of mind for employees and recruits? An agile organization can primarily change rapidly to stay in front of the curve, but change can be detrimental if you do not survey and act upon your workforce needs.
An Agile HR division will focus on feedback from their employees and frequently survey for changes in needs. An agile HR division will create environments where employees can learn and develop professionally, aside from completing tasks with no larger objective.
An Agile organization will make its mission statement or end goal very clear and demonstrate to all employees how they are individually adding to the success of that goal. The same goals of Agile Transformation are applied to HR divisions with great success.
Agile principles translated into an HR division may look something like this:
- Properly Groomed Backlog
- Constant feedback from Employees, focus on high priorities
- Surveys keep backlog up to date
- Teams organized around value
- Mission statement of HR division keeps employees focused on big picture
- Everyone knows the overarching goal they are working towards
- Product released in increments with less issues
- Through feedback you can implement small changes to make employees lives better
- Attrition is lowered
- Working tested product
- These are your successful and happy employees
- Retention and high productivity are your ideal end states
No one expected the world to change as drastically as it did over the past year, especially regarding our working lives. Employers no longer need to have offices, and there has been a considerable shift of power to the employees. HR Divisions that exemplify agility have continued to succeed throughout this shift in society by surveying their employees and acting on feedback, creating a mission statement and promoting individual development. Through these practices you can keep your employees happy and stave off the attrition that so many companies are experiencing.