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6 steps to create an agile HR function

In modern times, more than the technical or functional parameters, it has become important to navigate within an organization. This implies the ability to get efficient work done within a limited time by people who are a part of the company.  

However, this is an often ignored side of the workplace but is a pivotal step in making a business become the top scorer in its domain. Agility is the topmost trait needed in building a top-notch HR function. Language of trust, speed, team efforts, and inquisitiveness are a part of an agile HR. An effective HR function must ensure the motivation, satisfaction, and up-gradation of the employees with constructive feedback at every step. 

A research study by Mckinsey has stated the importance of maintaining a portfolio of HR analytics solutions. It said that by 2025, an increase of 275 basis points could be seen in the profit margin of companies using HR analytics solution portfolios. Another research by the same portal tracked the functions of best performing HR departments. They supposedly spend less than 40% of their time and resources on transactional and operational HR.

But, to find a ground where you can actually build an agile HR function is difficult. It requires a lot of structuring and transparency to formulate such a system. Here are 6 basic steps you can incorporate to ensure the agility of the HR function.


1. Regulate goals and training

Most companies aim at achieving certain goals that are set for accomplishment by the end of the year or somewhere near the middle of the year. Employees are trained as per these goals at the beginning of the year.

However, with technological developments, these goals do not remain stagnant across the year. So, your goal at the starting of the year might not be relevant after a few months. This in turn also leads to the invalidity of training provided at the beginning.

For the same reason, it’s best to set short term goals and regulate the training process accordingly. For example, setting weekly targets and maintaining a scoreboard is higher on the effectiveness ladder. Besides, feedback after the accomplishment of every goal must be provided to ensure motivation for further tasks.


2. Work on increasing transparency

The HR department has mostly refrained from providing important information to its employees due to fear of looking biased. As an example, an employee contributing to the fast accomplishment of goals might not be told the same to avoid insecurity amongst peers.

This was true at the time when strict hierarchical orders were followed in the company. Now with the flattened hierarchical curve, such feedback can have a positive impact. They can also guide the peers towards a newly developed drive for achievements. Transparency also helps in building trust, thereby promoting collaborative behavior.


3. Keep employee at the center of the model

HR departments of most companies have not moved ahead of days when the process and standardization of ideas were integral to a company’s progress. However, with a shift in the working system, it’s more important to ensure creativity, speed, and collaborative efforts.

Most HRs are reluctant to intake numerous creative instincts from employees. For example, while formulating a product, you can gather inputs from employees, looking at them as potential customers. The need of the hour is to focus primarily on motivating employees and making their work efficient.


4. Choosing the right HR operating model

The way HR functions are delivered is identified by the kind of HR operating model. Primarily, there are 4 basic models-

  •   In-house model: Herein, HR-related tasks are operated by HR functions.
  •  Outsourcing model: An external vendor is responsible for carrying out a part of HR functions.
  • Employee self-service model: A portion of HR-related activities falls in the hand of employees.
  • Shared- service model: Numerous business units use a common HR.

Choosing an apt model for the HR function contributes significantly to agility. Most business models use these HR typologies in combination, rather than just sticking to one. For example, outsourcing and employee self-service models can create greater impacts on business in comparison to either outsourcing or employee self-service models. 


5. Performing cross-sectional functions

Commonly, HR is considered as an independent entity in an organization, with no outside interaction. But, these boundaries have gotten blurred in the technological world.  For example, if there is a problem in devising a training plan, there is no hard and fast rule to only consider the HR function for the same. Having cross-sectional subject experts creates the possibility of solving the problem faster and mostly better. Even a person from the business section can have worthy insights into solving problems related to employees.


6. Gathering constructive feedbacks

Since HR is primarily a people’s function, it does need to satisfy the requirements to avoid failure. This can only be done by testing it on the employees and gathering their feedback. This can include constructive criticism that can be used to better the model and help it attain perfection in terms of its effectiveness.

The process of testing and incorporating necessary changes in the model can go on until the time the product becomes perfect. For example, Google tests its HR products with its employees before releasing it on a public platform.



Due to the change in technology and advancement towards digitalization, the process of HR has changed leaps and bounds. It has become increasingly important to prioritize navigation within the organization. The efficiency and agility of the HR function depend on how motivated the employees are to perform the given tasks. 

A successful company like Google has effectively modeled its HR function, which has promoted workforce productivity. Herein every employee generates $1 million revenue and $200,000 profit each year.

Every HR product must undergo testing with some amount of workforce to ensure its effectiveness amongst the people who will be affected by it. The product should be released only when there is validation from the employees. This will ensure that they are satisfied and motivated to make a difference in the organization. This has been the success mantra for agile HR functions at top-notch firms.  




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