Earning the ICAgile Agile Talent certification

HR functions are not meant to exist in silos; for HR to shift from a transactional focus to one of people enablement means that HR value delivery must become much more distributed and cross-functional in nature in the future.

As a great way to escape the inclement weather we’ve had here this week, I’ve spent the past two days with Pia-Mia Thoren, author of “Agile People: a Radical Approach for HR and Managers (That Leads to Motivated Employees)” and founder of Green Bullet brushing up on my Swedish and earning the world’s first Agile Talent certification course with ICAgile as part of the Business Agility Week in New York City.

So what exactly does a Human Resources (HR) practitioner need to know, to support business agility and become certified by ICAgile in Agile Talent?

Aimed at HR professionals, the course examines how the different functions of HR need to shift to support organisations transitioning to agile ways of working. It’s timely, given that Bersin by Deloitte reported that 2018 is the year that agile organisation models go mainstream. Side note: good to see we are at the tipping point!

I was pleasantly surprised at the pace of the ICAgile Agile Talent Certification course – it provided an interesting and balanced view of the role that HR plays in embedding agile value systems when an organisation adopts an agile approach. I can certainly see the applicability for HR teams to any business model transformation motivated by digital business disruption.

Take for example, traditional performance and reward. The shift to smaller, networked teams with cross-functional capability has had a huge impact on the way organisations manage performance and the way in which they reward. With the push to design different team structures and to eliminate competitive ranking systems, what should an organisations’ performance management system look like? How should it set goals and ensure alignment of employees to a common direction?

First, has been the decoupling of performance management and compensation and benefits. Rewarding behaviors, not just results is now the norm, with OKRs replacing the older concept of SMART goals. Daily activity is now built around goals, not a calendar year. Performance management is conducted more frequently, not just as part of an annual review process. Employees can set their own goals and agree them with their manager, as opposed to the traditional method of cascading goals.

In terms of reward, some organisations are taking a radical approach by making salaries completely transparent. Although governments around the world have been doing it for years, the concept of transparent salaries in private firms is relatively modern (take for example, Buffer’s Calculate-Your Salary app). I’m not sure how I’d feel about my neighbour judging me by how much I earn next time I bring over a cheap bottle of Yellow for dinner; it does seem a little radical.

Another side note: does anyone have a good example of an agile performance management system in practice in a large organisation? I’ve yet to hear one and most case studies I come across (despite the press about it) are still running with some type of semi-annual or annual process augmented with regular 1 on 1s. I’d love to know in the comments below.

I will say that I would have liked the ICAgile Agile Talent certification course to place greater focus on how the HR functions of organisation development and leadership development need to shift to enable organisations to embrace the idea of small, networked teams that are cross-functional in nature. The complexity of the structural aspects of transformation was left unexplored, with just a few references to different organisational structures like a holocracy (a manager-less system). I really can’t see how this would work in an organisation greater than the size of Zappos (1,500) but certainly appreciate the idea that this may have worked for some distribution organisations in the past.

Despite the somewhat idealistic view of the future of HR presented, I did have an “A-Ha!” moment during the middle of the day that perhaps these concepts are not quite so binary and most organisations are actually somewhere on the sliding scale of maturity in respect to the shift of their learning and development, performance management and recruitment functions. HR functions are not meant to exist in silos; for HR to shift from a transactional focus to one of people enablement means that HR value delivery must become much more distributed and cross-functional in nature in the future.

So, while I don’t think organisations are going to be going boss-less and calculating salaries using online apps any time soon, the ICAgile Agile Talent certification course did provide an interesting take on how HR is, not unlike many other industries currently experiencing the same thing, being vastly disrupted.

Note: I am not affiliated with ICAgile, although I have done many of their courses and really love Kings Insight (if you didn’t notice by our similiar blog themes!). Thank-you to Pia-Mia Thoren from Green Bullet for a fun few days.

Originally published on www.isabellaserg.com

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