The Business-Critical Case for Agile HR in 2021

The Business-Critical Case for Agile HR in 2021

HR Operational Efficiency

Est. Read Time: 3 min.

For businesses across industries and around the globe, 2020 was defined by the need to do one thing above all: adapt. 


As we kick off 2021, HR must do more than simply adapt to survive. The key is to adopt an agile approach, one that offers sustained success across three business-critical areas—and continues to serve your business well beyond the next phase of pandemic-fueled uncertainty.


The name of the game will be agility and the stakes are higher than ever before. Here are three strategies you can use to become a more agile HR function—and some reasons why it’s imperative you do. 


Prioritize productivity 

For the vast majority of businesses both small and large, 2020 brought unprecedented financial and logistical challenges. From furloughs to lay-offs—or, in some cases, unanticipated bursts of hiring—HR teams have been slammed, all while trying to acclimatize to newly remote conditions. Amid the chaos, the inefficiency of many HR workflows has come to light. Whether your organization struggles with paper-based processes, disconnected data systems, poor digital communication, or a variety of other pandemic-exposed pitfalls, they’re likely costing you time and money—chipping away at your productivity when it matters most. 


Adopting an agile approach to productivity means paying closer attention to individual processes and tasks that are creating friction—without losing sight of the big picture. Start by gathering information about what’s slowing you down and using that intel to help you find an appropriate solution. To be truly effective, this approach must extend across your workforce, so ensure that every employee knows how to flag process inefficiencies that hinder their productivity so that HR can drive continuous improvement across the board. 


Enhance the employee experience

The connection between a positive employee experience (one that runs on support, recognition, and opportunity) and enhanced employee performance was understood well before 2020. But when the COVID-19 crisis hit, the need for flexible, personalized employee support skyrocketed. Uncertain circumstances and a slew of new life experiences created a cosmic shift in the resources employees want—and the support they need. 


Nobody knows exactly what 2021 will bring, but taking an agile approach to supporting your employees means being more responsive to their evolving challenges and needs. Now more than ever, your employee experience strategy can’t be one-size-fits-all. Employees are seeking—and finding success because of—individualized support. Continuing to deliver it to them in the new year will do more than boost satisfaction and retention—it will also ensure their day-to-day wellbeing and, ultimately, solidify their trust in HR.


Future-proof the function 

The need for agile HR has always been driven by uncertainties. From the rapidly changing digital landscape to the looming force of automation, agility isn’t a new requirement for sustained HR success—it’s just taken on a newfound sense of urgency in light of recent events. 


As organizations look to the future, the consensus is clear: the only thing that’s certain is uncertainty. But how do you prepare for something you can’t predict?


As it happens, agility is future-proofing by nature. It allows organizations to face unanticipated events with greater flexibility, and to adapt, react, and respond to instability faster and more effectively. Even pre-pandemic, agility meant breaking down the barriers surrounding where, when, and how work gets done—and no longer being beholden to them. Now, those barriers have been broken down by force, but how the HR function responds and rebuilds still requires an adaptive, agile approach—especially when it comes to ensuring sustainability. 


The future of HR is agile

In 2021, HR needs agile tools, platforms, and processes it can deploy to make work productive, engaging, and accessible from anywhere, anytime. It’s the only way to equip employees for success into the new year—and throughout whatever comes next. 


Discover how automation can help your HR team boost its agility and keep up with changing workforce needs by downloading our eBook, Agile HR Starts with Automation.

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About Laura Zifchak (Poggi)

Laura leads the marketing team for the PeopleDoc by Ultimate Software products in North America. She joined PeopleDoc in January 2015 to help HR teams learn about HR Service Delivery technology, understand how it benefits their existing business strategies, and become expert users of our platform as customers.

Laura has experience with bringing technical software solutions to market with prior leadership positions at both IBM and RTTS. She has an MBA from CUNY Baruch Zicklin School of Business, and a BS degree in Marketing from Siena College.

With years of practice managing teams through rapid growth and constant change, Laura is passionate about employee and manager experience, and using technology to help scale and improve operations.