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HR Needs to Be Agile, and Agile Needs HR

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Q: How can Agile be adapted for human resources activity, and how do we demonstrate and measure the outcomes?

Author Darrell Rigby responds: Human resources plays two vital roles in Agile enterprises. First, it makes every Agile team possible by strengthening talent planning, making resource allocation visible, and adapting talent systems for Agile teaming. This includes hiring, training, coaching, reviewing and rewarding talent.

Second, human resource departments often deploy Agile teams to improve their own processes. In our book, we describe how Julie Murphy, the chief people officer for Walmart in the US, has been using Agile teams to improve the experiences of her customers—more than a million associates. She and her team define their priorities based on the importance, frequency and opportunity for improvement in the various episodes.

In early 2018, Murphy established five Agile teams to accelerate the pace of innovation. The teams focused on hiring, learning, progression, performance management and simplification. One team focused on the hiring of frontline associates: It developed a tool to better assess potential candidates, reduce bias in the hiring process and decrease the administrative burden for everyone.

Agile principles and practices can have a lot of impact on the work of human resources.

You can read more on this topic in a recent brief by my colleagues Arun Ganti and Jon Webber, “Support and Control Functions Go Agile.”

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