The Role of HR in an Agile Organisation

As organisations move to more adaptive, agile models, many realise that agile is more of a mindset and culture than a set of practices and tools. Being successful with agile often requires a shift in culture to one that is more collaborative, transparent and supportive. But traditional HR practices are often inadequate, built of old fashioned models of compliance, process and order. When face with new demands, such a team-based behaviour over individual success, what needs to change for HR to support agile? This then begs the question: what is the role of HR in an agile organisation?


How might HR lead and influence an agile transformation? What role does HR play in supporting successful, long term change?


Our panel consisted of

Katie Williams, HR Director at Vodafone

Mike Sweet, Chief People Officer at EROAD

Penelope Barton, Chief People Officer at Crimson

A good HR organisation is trying to make itself redundant all the time by helping others develop the right mindset for success. This includes a growth mindset, self-awareness, team-based collaboration and an interest in self-management.


Michael shared how important it is to avoid predicting how individuals might perform in an agile model. “Don’t rule anybody out” was a phrase that struck many participants.


There was also discussion around the role of senior leaders in influencing change and how HR can help with this. The general sentiment was that it is vital to coach and mentor senior leaders in different approaches to how they lead. The phrase “the past is alluring “came up when discussing how easy it is to revert back to traditional, command and control behaviours when the pressure really comes on.


Sujith Ramachandra from Radically has again produced a beautiful visual canvas. For a high-resolution version, click on the picture below.