It may be time for HR to change its approach to change management. Change management is probably one of the most critical core competencies required of HR professionals. The profession of HR, however, seems to be lagging behind the very thing that it needs to be leading.
The cause for this lag is explored in recent articles that come from the technology sector. They explore how responsiveness and agility are embedded in business approaches using pro-active systems thinking. Due to the lack of agility on the part of HR, our profession as a function appears to be struggling to keep up with the businesses we are supposed to serve.
As noted in these articles, an agile HR approach includes increased responsiveness, catching up with business language in an authentic way and reducing reliance on out-dated systems just because they used to be ‘best practice’. In Jeff Gothen’s article, he describes the challenges involved in having employees at ING re-interview for their jobs in order to implement systems change. This resulted in a ‘staggering’ 40% of ING employees either changing jobs or leaving the organization. Not because they did not have the skills, but because they needed to have a different organizational mindset. It was HR’s role to understand and implement what that cultural mind set looked like and felt like in order to make this type of organizational change happen. In order to implement this change for others, it seems critical for the mindset in HR to be changed first.
Agile HR means allowing more time to reflect on organizational practices. It means taking a critical look at what is working or not working to meet the needs of the business and responding proactively when those needs are not being met. HR can not be perceived as the organizational anchor due to its reliance on ‘old-ways’ systems thinking that approaches change as an event to be managed.
Agile HR means hoisting the sails and navigating through the seas of constant change, leading to new ways of thinking.
- Identify one HR practice that is perceived as unresponsive to the changing needs in the current workplace.
- If you had to re-interview for your current job, would you hire yourself? Explain your rationale.
- What does agile HR mean to you as an HR professional?