What actionable changes can a business implement to move from a traditional HR model to an agile one?

To help business owners understand what it truly means to be agile, we asked agility experts this question for their best insights. From moving to a continuous feedback model to creating cross-functional teams, there are several ideas that may help you understand and implement long-lasting agility into your organization.

Here are seven insights on how to create an agile work environment:

  • Group Together Employees with Common Skills
  • Measure the Time to Proficiency in Key Roles
  • Create an Employee Portal
  • Move to a Continuous Feedback Model
  • Adopt a Flexible Compensation Strategy
  • Start with the Job Description
  • Create Cross-Functional Teams


Group Together Employees with Common Skills

A technique that we used to create a more agile HR model within our law firm was grouping employees based on their skills rather than organizational hierarchy. This allowed us to get to the bottom of core issues within our business more efficiently, make more specific changes that would help all our employees to be more productive, and generally allowed us to have a more agile mindset. It also prevents any bias from individuals in higher positions and allows us to make truly beneficial changes to our firm. Skill-based HR avoids the traditional hierarchy that most companies look at and gets straight to the point. As soon as you realize this, you can begin your journey of creating a more agile environment. 

Seth Price, Price Benowitz LLP

Measure the Time to Proficiency in Key Roles

In today’s fast-paced world, with high skill obsolescence, massive technological innovations, and rapid changes, it is essential that organizations develop the performance of their employees at the speed of business. The HR function has a key role in supporting that speed and making that speed as the number one priority for business unit leaders to stay ahead in the competition. To convert the traditional model into an agile one, the HR function needs to focus on tracking how long employees or teams take to become fully productive in various roles across the organization. A key part of this approach is to implement ways to measure the time to proficiency of the workforce in key roles and then put systems in place to shorten that time. Driving that time down leads to a massive speed advantage in the marketplace.

Dr. Raman K. Attri, Performance Scientist

Create an Employee Portal

Creating an employee portal where team members can easily access, share, and discuss information within your company or organization will help make your HR team more agile. It will also serve to help remote team members familiarize themselves with your organization. Your portal can also foster company culture by including your mission statement, story, and behind-the-scenes videos. Links to informative online books, articles, and podcasts can help develop their professional growth. And with employee checklists, form templates, media assets, fun zoom backgrounds, and an employee directory, your remote, hybrid, and in-house workers will have the resources they need to perform well and be productive. But remember, designing an effective employee portal is an ongoing process. As your business is constantly improving, so too is your employee portal.

Shaunak Amin, SnackMagic

Move to a Continuous Feedback Model

Some actionable changes a business can implement to move from a traditional HR model to an agile one includes moving towards a continuous feedback model and moving towards an agile approach. It is crucial for HR managers to take regular actions for increasing employee satisfaction, engagement and morale. For this, they should try a continuous feedback model and regularly look into employee happiness, satisfaction and problems. This will not only support the growth of the organization but promote employee happiness as well. Then businesses can also have a greater focus on collaboration. HR managers should work on increasing collaboration among employees by implementing a flexible sitting arrangement and encourage workers to play games together. Finally, businesses can try a four day working week. A four day work week is becoming successful in many companies. HR managers should also give it a try in their organization.

Jessica Robinson, The Speaking Polymath

Adopt a Flexible Compensation Strategy

Employees will be happier and more engaged if their employers pay them equitably and adequately. Because the employment market is rapidly changing and the skills gap is tightening competition for top people, it is prudent for businesses to review their payment structures and compensation plans on a regular basis. As a result, an agile HR approach shifts away from annual raises and toward more frequent market evaluations and ongoing performance measures and feedback. Regularly assessing your pay structures, benefits, and compensation packages can help employers detect and close pay discrepancies, avoid wage discrimination lawsuits, and personalize compensation programs to attract and retain employees effectively.

Edward Mellett, WikiJob

Start with the Job Description

Create a presence on all the hiring platforms, regardless of the available vacancies at your organization. In these job descriptions, you should mention dynamic career paths by avoiding the limitation of defined career options. Also, avoid creating predefined strategies for all the operations and start treating the operations as ongoing processes. Focus on multiple small tasks instead of doing everything as one big task.

Lynda Fairly, NumLooker

Create Cross-Functional Teams

An organization can look beyond the traditional organizational hierarchy and practices and rethink the overall structure to shift from a traditional HR Model to an Agile HR Model. More collaborative and cross-functional teams can be created to make leadership and decision-making in the organization effective and well-communicated. An organization to become agile needs to be small and nimble in which leaders from different departments of the company solves the challenges that can influence the business operations. An organization can also have an Agile HR model if it can change how it looks at its people and identify the right ones for ever-evolving projects.

Marilyn Gaskell, TruePeopleSearch


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