Agility within the HR organization: Fast to Action

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Agility within the HR organization: Fast to Action

The future of HR in the face of COVID-19

In a world where alignment to work and the workforce is needed more than ever, traditional functional alignment is something that we believe should be reconsidered. Where should you start with improving the agility of your HR organization?

This blog is part of a blog series around how HR needs to start reimagining their future to thrive in the post COVID-19 world. Click on the button on the right for the full overview of the blog series.

COVID-19 has been – and still is – an immense force causing monumental pivots in our work, workforce and workplace, providing an exceptional case for HR to show they are ready to take the lead in this new reality. This requires HR to reimagine their role, the outcomes they deliver, and how they operate and organize. The Human Capital Trends 2020 survey respondents identified the biggest changes HR should make to maximize its impact. 45 percent of the respondents indicated that HR should change their organization design to incorporate more agile and team-based work (click here for the full article ‘A memo to HR: The changing role of Human Resources management’). HR organizations can do this by applying a new lens: adopting an operating model that enables HR to be more flexible, based on dynamic business needs.
In a world where alignment to work and the workforce is needed more than ever, traditional functional alignment is something that we believe should be reconsidered. Where should you start with improving the agility of your HR organization?

Blog series: The future of HR in the face of COVID-19

See the full overview of the blog series

HR’s fast response to critical business needs

HR often lacks the speed and resources to quickly deliver the highest business value in the right timeframe. To make improved agility a reality, HR organizations should prioritize business impact — focusing less on specific HR products and siloed initiatives. An achievable and effective solution is a so-called ‘Fast to Action’ (F2A) team. The F2A team incorporates agile ways of working (e.g. delivering in short-cycles) and collaborates and tests the solutions in close collaboration with the business, to deliver value where it is most needed. The purpose of a Fast to Action team should always be the improvement of a clear pain point and/or the creation of a new product or service to make impact in the business.

HR delivery in a ‘Fast to Action’ Team: A high-level insight in the ways of working, roles & governance

The F2A team is made up of a solid group of HR resources, composed to accommodate the right roles and capabilities for the solution that needs to be developed. A F2A team can deliver because of their team skillset and their complementary HR capabilities. To make their solution fit for purpose they will work in close collaboration with the business and other support functions where needed. The team generally consists of 3 different roles: Solution Owner, Ways of working coach, and the Delivery Team. The Solution Owner is the person responsible for determining which initiatives have the highest priority. The Ways of working coach focuses on the ‘how’, as he/she coaches the Delivery Team in new ways of working and effective delivery. The Delivery Team, as the name suggests, is the group of HR employees that deliver the solution and connect with the right stakeholders to ensure successful completion.

A F2A team guides their work based on the priorities listed on their ‘Solution Canvas’. This canvas contains the identified business priorities, based on conversations with key stakeholders (e.g. CEO, Business Unit Lead) and pre-defined criteria and requirements. New requests for business driven projects that were not on the Solution Canvas, will be reviewed by the Solution Owner. The Solution Owner selects the projects that will bring most business value, taking into account the availability of the required capabilities and capacity. The basis of the F2A team is that the resources stay together and do not rotate. This creates focus, commitment to deliver results, and deep expertise.

Although not always in the nature of HR, it is recommended to have clear KPIs and measurable deliverables when working in a F2A team to ensure the right outcomes are achieved. Finally, when the job is considered done, the team hands over to the business and the standing HR organization and moves its focus to a new priority. This might sound obvious, however it is only possible when the definition of ‘done’ has been clearly articulated upfront. The F2A teams exist as long as they deliver value, if not it is dissolved.

Client Example: F2A in action

To illustrate our experience with implementing and organizing a Fast to Action team, we would like to share an example of the team in practice:

So what (now)?

The F2A team can drive enterprise initiatives that create value, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and enhance productivity. Working in a F2A team that is focused on critical business needs means that HR can be requested to deliver in fields they have not worked in yet, or where they do not have teams set-up for thus far (e.g. legislation implementation, business restructure, M&A). Although it sounds like a big job, it is a matter of taking action. Rather than having detailed out the tasks and structure of this team we recommend to ‘just do it’ and to learn, improve and grow on the go.

Setting up an F2A team (or multiple teams) can help HR to experiment with new ways of working and work with a new mindset and new rhythm to support key business initiatives better and faster.

We have a wide range of tools and experience to help you take your first step in bringing more agility into your HR function and get your F2A team ready. Beyond improving the agility of HR, we know each organization will need its own combination of solutions. This is why we have developed 6 point solutions (see here) for the questions we believe are keeping CHROs awake at night. These are tailored to drive HR’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and position it to thrive in our new reality.

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