Agile isn’t just for tech anymore. Transform your HR practices.

Improve your ability to attract, recruit, inspire and keep great people.

Modern Agile by Joshua Kerievsky


HR models that made sense in the 1970’s, are not designed for the modern era.

HR models from the 1970s, still persists for the most part.

Companies seek out lifers, give them rotational assignments to support their development, groom them years in advance to take on bigger roles, and tie their raises directly to each incremental move up the ladder. Workforce and succession planning carries on, even though changes in the economy and in the business often rendered those plans irrelevant. Annual appraisals continue, despite almost universal dissatisfaction with them.

The Five Shifts HR Needs To Make

Companies’ core businesses and functions have adopted methods that allow them to adapt and innovate more quickly. HR Departments need to start using agile talent practices to reflect and support the rest of the organization.

Agile Performance Management

The annual performance review, as well as employee goals that “cascade” down from the company each year, are the first conventional HR practices that need to go. Individuals work on shorter-term tasks of varying duration, frequently led by multiple leaders and structured around teams, so the idea of receiving performance reviews from a single supervisor once a year makes no sense. They need more of it, more often, from more people.

Shift Leadership Mindsets

There is very little work that does not require collaboration across multiple teams. Managers require to shift from a judging model to a coaching model of leading teams. Helping managers substitute judging with coaching is a challenging job, not just because it requires new skills, but also because it undermines their formal authority and rank. This requires a shift in the leadership mindset and approach to how they lead teams.

Focus more on teams then just individuals

Individual interests, results, and needs are the subject of traditional HR. However, as more businesses organize their work on a project-by-project basis, management and talent processes need to be more team-oriented. HR talent processes must shift to a team model to facilitate this change in how work is done. Agile talent processes will allow HR to easily respond to changes in the market and new knowledge.

Personalize Employee Experiences

HR does not do enough to make employee interactions more personalized. Consider learning and development: most businesses already have a library of online learning modules that employees can access whenever they want. While useful for those with clearly identified needs, it’s akin to handing a student the key to a library and telling her figure out what you need to know.

Become Tech Savvy

HR is saturated with data that focuses more on transactions versus measuring experience. This requires a dramatic shift in what is measured, how often it’s measured, and how quickly it’s acted upon. The HR function will require reskilling. It will need to be more tech savvy—especially given all the performance data generated by the new apps—and deeper knowledge about teams.. 


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