Nov 9, 2020

Gartner: How Agile HR can make a strategic impact

Janet Brice
4 min
Agile HR has emerged as a new software tool which will empower HR leaders and redefine the workplace, report consultants Gartner...

Agile HR has emerged as a popular new software tool to empower HR leaders, report consultants Gartner who has provided a guide to this product management methodology. 

Demystifying Agile HR is a comprehensive report aimed at HR professionals around the world and outlines how this methodology is helping to redefine the workplace. 

“Agile HR has emerged as a popular tool that can empower HR professionals to better manage volatility, enhance adaptability and strengthen the organisation by applying Agile methodologies to their talent management processes,” commented Gartner.

“As a proven effective software development methodology, agile has become a common working method for functions throughout the organisation. With this rise in popularity, HR leaders are considering agile HR as a new way to make a strategic impact.”

What is an agile approach in HR?

According to Gartner, an agile approach is a collaborative way of working that embraces change, drives efficiency through customer testing and measures success through outcomes rather than inputs. 

“In practice, agile principles grant teams more flexibility to make decisions about how best to work to achieve their goals, which is especially important in today’s rapidly changing business environment,” commented Gartner.

“Agile in HR is gaining recognition as a means of helping the organisation stay current and aligned with today’s talent requirements.” 

In a recent Gartner survey, 63% of HR leaders reported the use of agile methods and principles in some capacity within their functions - however many lack clarity on what agile means for HR.

“Agile represents a set of values that HR hopes will enable the function to quickly provide relevant products and support for its customers, employees, managers and leaders. 

The mechanism to deliver and apply agile values to HR is two-fold:  

  • HR projects - individual projects that create a new, or improve an existing, HR solution (process, tool, policy) 
  • HR operating model - the formal and informal ways in which the HR function works to deliver value to the business quickly with impact

How to translate agile value to HR

Agile methodology is a set of guidelines rooted in the four original values as defined in the Agile Manifesto for software development. “We at Gartner translated the core values of original software manifesto, which guides agile teams, into four HR values.”

The four values of agile methodology outlined by Gartner:

Value 1: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

HR should make it easier for people to collaborate within the organisation and reward it. There should be a shift from enforcing rules, policies and systems, to ensuring employees have the best experience at work. For this to happen, HR needs to move from a compliance-oriented function to a more strategic, developmental one. 

There also needs to be a move from a function of “service delivery” to a driver of strategic talent and business outcomes. HR’s operating model needs to undergo transformation to achieve this which will enable strategic thinkers to focus on solving customer problems

Value 2: Working software over comprehensive documentation

“Working software” in HR can be easily translated to “working processes”. In an agile framework, the primary goal of HR is to create relevant products and solutions, not a 50-page document describing what they intend to produce or how it will be implemented. 

HR should test and deliver the new process in iterative steps rather than driving to deliver them as fully designed products through rigid rollout procedures.

Value 3: Customer collaboration over contract negotiation 

HR needs to co-create with their customers — employees, managers and leaders —continuously during the design of a product or solution and release a working prototype at set intervals. These releases enable customers to give regular feedback, increasing the likelihood of meeting customer needs. 

Value 4: Responding to change over following a plan

Change is a reality of product and solution creation, a reality that HR processes and structures must reflect. HR needs to respond quickly and easily to change. 

“Overall, the Agile Manifesto values for software development when translated into HR values, provide useful direction to HR on the design and delivery of high-quality HR processes. Furthermore, these values enable HR to transform into a function that is more responsive and adaptive to business and customer needs.”

Gartner concludes for HR leaders to successfully adopt Agile methodologies, it is essential they clearly understand the agile approach, its core values and how the agile values can be applied to HR processes.

Read more

For more information on business topics in the United States and Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief North America.

Follow Business Chief on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Share article

Jun 20, 2021

5 Ways Leaders Can Create a Healthy Workplace Culture

5 min
As the world embraces Men’s Health Week, five experts advise how leaders can create a healthy workplace culture for employees

This week (14th-20th June 2021) is Men’s Health Week. Physical and mental well-being have been important considerations for leaders over the past year, and it is essential this focus is maintained as we build back for the future. Here we have asked 5 experts for practical tips leaders can implement to create healthy workplace cultures.


Know the early signs of burnout 

Recently it was reported by the BBC that burnout for health and social care staff had reached emergency levels. 

Monkey Puzzle Training Co-Founder Karen Meager has studied the burnout recovery process in partnership with Coventry University: “The past year has seen people suffer from job-loss worries, work from home challenges, isolation, and feeling overworked. These are continuing, and all have the potential to contribute towards burnout. Healthcare workers, executives, leaders, managers and small business owners will continue to be the top people to suffer from extreme burnout.”

“At the onset of burnout, people commonly enter a phase of denial. So leaders need to be aware of those who are reluctant to take their time off, are compelled to work all hours, or have changes in their behaviour or mood, as these can all be indications of burnout taking hold. Encouraging them to take a burnout self-test provides a starting point to supporting these employees through recovery, as is role modelling healthy sustainable ways of working.Karen suggests.


Encourage professional self-reflection 

Creating an environment that encourages self-reflection is an effective tool for promoting personal development. Journaling may not be something you instantly think of for professional development; however, it is a successful technique for adults to aid mindfulness and productivity. “Journaling is a form of self-expression that can empower you to understand your feelings and ambitions and how to deal with them, therefore promoting positive well-being and a healthy workplace culture,” describes Elisa Nardi, founder of Notebook Mentor


Just 15-20 minutes of journaling a day over the course of four months are enough to lessen the impact of physical stressors on your health,” explains Elisa. “It can also inspire creativity, aid your memory, and help set actionable goals. It is an underused tool that can help employees manage tricky workplace situations such as conflict, illness or new leadership roles.


Manage your stress and resilience too

As a leader or manager, often, your complete focus is on the business or protecting your team, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. Leaders should also have strategies in place to manage their own stress, so they can sustain high levels of positive energy throughout the day. “Fueled by a burning desire for success, I ignored all the warning signs of exhaustion, which eventually took its toll on me - I literally collapsed from stress, and I didn’t even see it coming.” reflects Sascha Heinemann, an expert in Performance Recovery and Stress Resilience.


“When leaders manage their energy, create healthy daily habits, and practice resilience, they are able to perform to their fullest capacity and to provide the best possible support for others.” 


“Taking a break every 90 minutes or so helps you to refuel, recharge, and re-energize and ultimately allows you to get more accomplished, in less time, at a higher level of quality, and more sustainably. This role model contributes dramatically to a healthier, more engaged, sustainable, and productive workplace culture," he adds.


Instil a sense of purpose for your team

The idea that success equals working 12-15 hour days and giving everything of yourself to your workplace continues to prevail in many organisations. This is not healthy, nor is it productive for anyone involved. “The healthiest and happiest workplace cultures are the ones that are organised around purpose.” describes business and life coach Anand Kulkarni. 


“Leaders should be giving meaning to the work they are doing within their business and beyond and sharing this purpose with their staff, rather than focusing on long hours, crippling workloads or someone else’s idea of ‘success’. When people understand why they are doing what they do and how this contributes to something greater, productivity and well-being is increased.” adds Anand. 


Promote well-being from the top down

Leaders need to act as role models if well-being is to become embedded at the very core of the organisation. It’s very unlikely that employees will start acting in a new way that puts their own needs first if the leadership team continues to behave in an entirely different manner.


‘Many organisations have worked hard in recent months to put new policies in place that better support well-being, promote hybrid working and attempt to set clear boundaries, but many leaders seem to assume that they are exempt from it all, that’s when it all falls over’, explains leadership experts Martin Boroson and Carmel Moore, from The One Moment Company. 


A recent ONS report into Homeworking in the UK revealed that people are on average working 6 hours extra per week, and many are working until late in the evening, indicating that the boundaries between work and life are more blurred than ever. 


Despite all of these wonderful opportunities for people to self-organise, if the leadership team continues to work in the office Monday to Friday, or are communicating at all hours, then it’s a clear indicator that hybrid working is simply a ‘bolt-on’ tactic rather than an integral part of the company’s approach to promoting the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.’

Share article