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The Path to HR Agility


The Future of HR: A Three-Part Article Series

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Organizations are looking for ways to cope with, manage, and thrive in an ever-shifting landscape. Many are starting to leverage “agile” principles—collaboration, flexibility, responsiveness, iteration—to transform their enterprises from top to bottom. In fact, an industry study[1] found that 75% of business leaders list leveraging agile methods as a top priority, while a significant number of them feel their teams should be working in more agile ways. These statistics are not surprising, considering that agile organizations are shown to have greater customer centricity, higher revenue growth, lower costs, and a more engaged workforce than their peers.

Hallmarks of organizational agility include a common purpose or mission, flexible organizational structures and networks, rapid learning cycles, and market-leading technologies. These components impact the employee experience and are ultimately the responsibility of HR. The path to organizational agility is long and winding, and HR cannot lead or support from behind. As we outlined in “The Evolving Role of Human Resources,” HR needs to transform itself before it can lead the organization.

But what does an agile HR organization look like? Several key attributes distinguish leading HR organizations as they move up the agility pyramid (shown below).

In order to start the journey and move away from traditional HR practices and structures, HR teams must:

  • Leverage untapped functionality of existing technology to enhance automation, drive standardization, and capture relevant HR data and metrics
  • Get closer to customers and stakeholders to identify their biggest challenges and determine pilot projects to provide HR data-driven insights and solutions
  • Track and communicate successes to demonstrate capabilities, open doors for future projects, and grow continued support
  • Redesign key HR programs to support the employee experience and drive bottom-line results. High-value areas include learning and development, performance management, compensation, and recruiting


How ScottMadden Can Help

Shifting from traditional to agile ways of working is critical if HR wants to remain relevant or grow into a valued transformation partner and leader. The time and attention required to make this shift should not be underestimated. Consider ScottMadden to help you succeed in this dynamic and evolving marketplace. Together, capitalizing on our decades of experience developing customized approaches, we can define your best path forward.


[1] “The Five Trademarks of Agile Organizations,” McKinsey & Company. 2018.

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