Introducing the HR Agility Scale

There has been an increased focus lately on the need for “HR agility” within progressive organizations seeking a competitive edge in the digital world. However, there is a lurking concern that such “agility” is in danger of becoming the trending buzzword in corporate conversations, rather than actually delivering on its promise.

HR Agility Defined
Let’s gain an understanding of what “HR agility” actually is through the discerning lens of a clear and simple definition before proceeding any further. HR agility is the capability of the HR function to respond more quickly and effectively to changing employee expectations, workplace disruptions and business requirements. Therefore, the expectations for the HR professional are being elevated to a level where there is a demand to keep pace with the evolving demands of the digital world.

A significant number of HR leaders see HR agility as their “ticket to the big table,” justifying their presence as strategic partners in determining/cementing the future direction of the organization. While significant, this also opens the door for committing significant errors, especially, in terms of overestimating the inherent strengths of the HR team and the daunting challenges faced.

Finding Your Flex
Consequently, it is prudent to gain a clear understanding of the status-quo in order to ensure that a baseline is firmly established before any measures are taken within the realm of HR agility. This also systematizes the approach to ingraining agility within the HR professional and lays the foundation for consistently providing a high probability of success in terms of fulfilling desired expectations.

The HR Agility Scale
The following HR Agility Scale can be used for an honest self-reflection.

No. Question Response
1 Does it generally take a long time to make a strategic decision in your organization? Yes | No
2 Does it generally take a long time to operationalize a strategic decision in your organization? Yes | No
3 Do you often struggle with having a good understanding of your functional strengths and weaknesses? Yes | No
4 Do you often feel you are underutilizing your functional strengths? Yes | No
5 Are you frequently confused/unclear/uncertain about the key aspects/features of existing/new products/services of your organization? Yes | No
6 Are most of your initiatives corrective in nature, rather than preventive in nature? Yes | No
7 Do you often have to struggle with lack of clear and effective communication channels throughout the organization? Yes | No
8 Are you mostly trying to reach out to employees yourself in terms of understanding and addressing their concerns, rather than hoping they have the confidence to come to you proactively? Yes | No
9 Are you mostly an invisible/undervalued/marginalized function within your organization? Yes | No
10 Is it hard to formally change/refine/eliminate an HR policy/procedure/process that has lost its effectiveness/relevance? Yes | No
11 Do you feel a chronic lack of recognition for your functional achievements in the success of your organization? Yes | No
12 Do you lack informal ways of sensing emerging issues within the organization? Yes | No
13 Are you often ignored/overlooked/overruled in terms of having a significant role in formulating business strategies? Yes | No
14 Do you find it hard to convert business goals into HR imperatives? Yes | No
15 Is the term “deadline” a flexible concept for you? Yes | No
16 Are you frequently requesting extensions on agreed timelines for completion of assignments? Yes | No
17 Do you often feel pulled in different directions by multiple influential forces within your organization in terms of completing assignments? Yes | No
18 Do you have an ineffective means of studying and analyzing your performance parameters? Yes | No
19 Do you frequently struggle in terms of maintaining healthy/ongoing/productive relations with former employees who have left on amicable terms? Yes | No
20 Do you find it difficult to run effective recruitment drives to attract desirable talent in a competitive market? Yes | No
21 Are you often quoted the examples of other companies by “client” functional heads in terms of efficient and effective HR practices? Yes | No
22 Do you lack a periodic system of updating employee records, especially, in terms of current skill levels, completed trainings and necessary development activities? Yes | No
23 Do you lack a progressive system of improvement based upon key lessons from past experiences and current/emerging tools/techniques/methods/approaches? Yes | No
24 Is failure considered a negative trait within your organization? Yes | No
25 Do you face significant hurdles/resistance in experimenting with new tools/techniques/methods/approaches that have been proven to work elsewhere? Yes | No
26 Is there a high rate of attrition among desired talent in your organization due to ‘avoidable’ circumstances? Yes | No
27 Do you frequently struggle to find/retain suitable internal successors for senior/top leadership positions in your organization? Yes | No
28 Do you instinctively/deliberately avoid conducting employee exit interviews? Yes | No
29 Do you discourage/resist employees from other functions to explore career options/stints in HR? Yes | No
30 Are you lacking appreciable Diversity & Inclusion practices within your own function? Yes | No

The result obtained from utilizing the aforementioned HR Agility Scale can then be used to develop astute strategies/action plans that are designed in congruence with associated goals/objectives.

Putting The Agility Scale to Work
Another effective way to benefit from the HR Agility Scale is to use it periodically, e.g., annually, for developing a temporal record of the status-quo in order to gauge the improvement level in the agility of the HR team and the lessons learnt in terms of overcoming any impediments/challenges.
This can also be tied to corroborating performance metrics and surveys from ‘client’ functions within the organization that can provide factual evidence of the HR team’s enhanced ability to meet/exceed expectations.

HR agility requires ‘sincere’ teamwork and it thrives on constructive feedback that is crucial for refining the approach taken to provide seamless services. The aforementioned scale inevitably creates a robust bond between the role played by HR and the organizational imperatives.

Furthermore, it provides the impetus for the innovation that is increasingly becoming a life-saving skill for organizations in an era where the proverbial sun routinely sets on the titans of yesterday.

Murad Salman Mirza is an innovative thinker and an astute practitioner of areas within and associated with the fields of organizational development, talent management and business transformation. He has lived, studied and served in different regions of the world, including the US, Australia, South Asia and the Middle East. Murad has more than 15 years of multi-disciplinary experience and has rich exposure to multiple sectors within the corporate world. Currently, he is engaged as a Board Member with two US-based organizations. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at: Murad Salman Mirza.

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