Apr 7th, 2019

Scaling Organizational Agility with Human Resource Development (HRD)

Naveen Kumar Singh
Naveen Kumar Singh

Naveen is a professional agile coach and has been working independently for a long time in the Asia... Read more

Human Resource Development (HRD) is regarded as less important in many companies compared to delivery, product design, and services. Yes, I said many and not all the companies because I have seen/heard about few where they are well regarded and always holding the crucial role.

How do they take part in the agile movement? Are they able to shape themselves or do they find themselves as a misfit in the whole initiatives?

I often see them struggling with the agile initiative and sometimes getting accused of being the impediment in this whole agile transition.

I believe these functions started losing their identity when the service mindset started booming. HRD did try to highlight these, they were fought off with various excuses including client policy, business growth opportunities and many more.

The department and people responsible to build the very backbone of the organization like core values, culture and talent were ridiculed and were not given any importance. As Pia-María mentioned in her book “Agile People: A Radical Approach for HR and Managers”.

For any organization to be successful, you need to have a fit between the culture (values and behaviors) on one hand, and the structures (methods, processes, and systems) on the other hand. If not, you will experience confusion around what’s said and what’s done.

HR doesn't know agile so can they help?

Does your Human Resource department understand the need for agile? I have been interacting with many HR professionals including HR generalist, recruitment and learning & development people have gathered some idea about the ground reality.

Many think that these are just for IT people and some sort of Project Management process. They are usually unaware of the agile values and principles because they don’t consider it's got anything for them.

Start educating your Human Resource people to see greater benefits. Last year, I proposed this idea to one of the insurance companies in Malaysia and they got all their Human Capital team trained and not only on agile values and principles but also Scrum. They all attended Professional Scrum Master training and cleared the exam too.

Now you can see effective communication there as everyone uses the same language and Human Capital team understand the needs and wants of business and IT. HR policies designed around mistrust and individual reward system never align with the agile way of working.

The next immediate step for the HRD is to improve and align policies to take care of motivation, reward, compensation, and performance monitoring system, etc.

Many of them are designed around individuals and not for collaboration which is key for agility. These policies are hypocritical in that it talks about the collaborative team but rewards individual Performance.

HR is not involved in talent management and that is handled by the people managers.

As highlighted above, people manager are trying to do the Human Resource department job rather than focusing on capability building. Need to shift these jobs back to the HR department including Individual coaching, mentoring and guiding towards individual goal. People manager might not have HR skills or systematic approach in dealing with individual inspiration and goal as they might not have done formal education in this field.

Furthermore, in an Agile organization, HR’s role, just like the organization’s mindset, must shift. For Agile to work effectively, it’s important that the company structure and culture match up. HR managers can hinder progress instead of help if they don’t take the right approach. - Agile People

Let’s have a strong team of Human Resource Development/ Human Capital/ Talent Management within the organization to build a backbone for future growth. Let them bring back focus on the core values, vision, and mission of the organization.

Browse the Agilemania Library and download the available resources to Drive change – Learn & Upskill.

Naveen Kumar Singh

Naveen is a professional agile coach and has been working independently for a long time in the Asia Pacific. He works with the software development team and product team to develop awesome products based on empirical processes.

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