Agile HR & People Ops

Human resources has been undergoing a shift to support the dynamic expectations of workers and customers today through a more interactive, iterative and inclusive approach to functions such hiring, talent development, performance management and corporate communications.  “Talent management,” “experience management” and “people operations” are just a few terms entering vogue to describe an evolution of the function classically known as HR.  

Key Points

  • Adopt an iterative, incremental and adaptive approach to rolling out and testing new HR initiatives

  • Focus on attracting and keeping the best talent through engaging hiring, onboarding and working experiences, rather than controlling bad actors with bureaucratic policies

  • Make career paths flexible to drive a growth mindset and support crossfunctional behavior

  • Create flexible working environments that support both local and remote collaboration 

  • Use local knowledge of specific teams and people to drive targeted support solutions, rather than deploying inflexible centralized plans

  • Make performance management feedback loops frequent, proactive and developmental rather than occasional, counteractive and punitive

  • Favor transparent communication strategies over opaque internal planning

Key Outcomes

  • Improved engagement and happiness among employees

  • More flexible career paths that support crossfunctional teams and a growth mindset

  • Ability to attract and retain highly engaged top talent

  • Transparent communication policies with clear feedback loops

Key Metrics

  • Happiness/Engagement among employees

  • Ratings on learning & development programs

  • Hiring speed and efficacy

  • Retention 

Example Approaches

  • Train your HR group in agile methods

  • Assess where HR could advance agility

  • Update HR vision and values as appropriate

  • Story map some tangible goals and releases

  • Create a Kanban board to track HR work

  • Build hiring and onboarding games 

  • Design new compensation schemes

  • Design a flexible career progression system

  • Decentralize HR and “go to the gemba”

  • Highlight and eliminate process waste through value stream mapping

  • Adjust resource management and allocation policies

  • Run a skills marketplace

  • Experiment with flexible schedules

  • Craft an advice process to enable self-management

  • Design a compelling employee handbook

  • Implement a micro recognition system

  • Take regular pulses of your teams


Further Resources:

Business Agility Institute, People, HR and Talent Insights Playlist