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Event: You can get agile – survive and thrive

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11th Mar 2011
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At an upcoming executive forum hosted by Pilat HR Solutions in association with HRzone, we will explore what HR can do differently to ensure ‘agility’ in their organisations. HR Zone readers are welcome to attend this free event by registering their interest here http://www.pilat.com/forum

Since the earliest academic research on how best to manage organisations and their workforces, change has been known to be a key factor. Change has mattered because organisations and individuals have to be able to respond to evolving circumstances and demands - as ‘not to change is to regress’. Additionally, well-managed change has repeatedly been found to re-energise and motivate individuals – hence the proliferation of initiatives and apparent panacea solutions emanating largely from HR.

More recent circumstances - technology, socio-economic pressures, global communications and so on - have moved change from something we ought to consider to a survival issue. Unfortunately, much of the talked about change is mere rhetoric. We need to practice change not merely talk about it. So, the ability to trigger, respond to and manage change matters; or, put another way, ‘agility’ at an organisational and individual level is now critically important.

At an organisational level, consensus appears to be forming around a number of characteristics of ‘agility’ in highly successful organisations. These include:

•    Leadership
•    Adaptable workforce
•    Talent management
•    Business intelligence 
•    Focus on performance

And, when looking at an individual level, some of the key characteristics of ‘agility’ would include the ability to:
•    Identify the need for change
•    Respond promptly (including learning)
•    Devise action
•    Achieve action

Richard Shafer from the Centre for Leadership in Dynamic Organisations at Cornell University recently challenged traditional HR organisations and structures. “This move toward agility will create a new role for the HR function,” he wrote. “In many organisations, existing HR systems are major impediments to creating agile workforces. For the most part, HR systems are designed to reduce variability and to standardise behavior, not to promote flexibility and adaptive behavior.” 

He predicts that HR organisations will become smaller. “Hiring criteria and processes will be altered to reflect agile attributes. … Job descriptions will be eliminated and compensation systems redesigned to pay relatively more for enterprise-wide results and relatively less for individual outcomes.”

HR’s role is to create an organisation that constantly builds its capacity by building the capacity of the people it employs.  HR designs and administers most organisational systems that contribute to such agility. 

At an upcoming executive forum hosted by Pilat HR Solutions in association with HRzone, we will explore what HR can do differently to ensure ‘agility’ in their organisations.
 

Clinton Wingrove is EVP and Principal Consultant at Pilat HR Solutions

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